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Improving pandemic preparedness: What lessons have we learned for preparedness and response?

The LSHTM-Charité Global Health Lecture Series brings together leading scientists from the UK, Germany and further afield to present cutting-edge research on pressing global health issues and to discuss the implications of their work for policy and practice.

Photo Credit: Sorapong Chaipanya,  “Plastic bottles with antiseptic gels and sterile mask on table” (Canva)
Photo Credit: Sorapong Chaipanya, “Plastic bottles with antiseptic gels and sterile mask on table” (Canva)

This eighth event of the LSHTM-Charité Global Health Lecture series will focus on improving pandemic preparedness. Whilst the first inaugural event of this series, which took place on 12 February 2020, inquired whether we are prepared for a new pandemic, this event will explore the following questions: Which lessons have we learned after over one and a half years of tackling COVID-19? How have preparedness and response mechanisms varied throughout the world? How can we improve preparedness and response mechanisms for both scientists and policy-makers in the future? 

Professor Sebastian Funk, Professor of Infectious Disease Dynamics at LSHTM and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, Professor Christian Drosten, Head of Charité Global Health and Director of the Institute of Virology Charité and Dr Grace Akello, a medical anthropologist and Associate Professor at Gulu University’s Faculty of Medicine, will explore these and other questions. 

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director of World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, will chair the event and provide insights and reflections on the policy context for improving pandemic preparedness and response. 

Speakers

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Professor Christian Drosten, Professor Sebastian Funk and Dr Grace Akello. Credit for Professor Christian Drosten's photo: Wiebke Peitz - Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Credit for Professor Christian Drosten's photo: Wiebke Peitz - Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Professor Christian Drosten 

Professor Christian Drosten is a physician by training. He is board certified in virology, medical microbiology and infection epidemiology. He started his professional career at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, where he discovered the unknown virus causing SARS in 2003 (SARS = severe acute respiratory syndrome) and developed a diagnostic test that enabled public health authorities worldwide to stop the agent before it could develop into a pandemic.

In 2007, at age 34, he became the founding director of the Institute of Virology at University of Bonn Medical Centre. In 2017, he took over the Chair of Virology at Charité, where he heads the Institute of Virology on Campus Mitte. Drosten has co-authored more than 450 peer-reviewed papers and coordinated research consortia funded by the European Union, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the German Ministry of Research.

He was awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit twice (2005, 2020) for his research work and broader contribution to countering the SARS epidemic and the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. 

Professor Sebastian Funk 

Sebastian Funk is a Professor of Infectious Disease Dynamics at LSHTM and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow. His work focuses on statistical mathematical models of infectious disease dynamics, and particularly the application to ongoing outbreaks. He has worked with numerous national and international agencies such as the World Health Organization, the European Centre for Disease Control and Public Health England. He leads the EpiForecast group, which produces real-time modelling of infectious disease outbreaks in collaboration with public health decision-makers. 

Dr Grace Akello 

Grace Akello, PhD is a Medical Anthropologist trained at Universiteit van Amsterdam and Universiteit Leiden, The Netherlands. She is currently an Associate Professor in Gulu University’s Faculty of Medicine. She studies humanitarianism, pandemic preparedness and health policy during complex emergencies and in LMICs. She has published many articles and book chapters focusing on former child soldiers, silencing of distressed children in the context of war as a coping mechanism and the oughtness of care during the Ebola epidemic. Her book, Wartime children's suffering and quest for therapy in northern Uganda, was awarded a PhD premium by the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research in the academic year 2008/2009. 

Dr Matshidiso Moeti 

Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti is the WHO Regional Director for Africa and the first woman to be elected to this position. She is a medical doctor and public health expert, with more than 40 years of experience. In leading WHO’s work in Africa since 2015, Dr Moeti has driven a Transformation Agenda to make the Organization more effective, results-driven and accountable. Under her leadership, wild poliovirus was kicked out of Africa in 2020, country capacities to prepare for and respond to outbreaks have improved, and most African countries are pursuing reforms to achieve Universal Health Coverage.

Prior to her 20-year career with WHO, Dr Moeti worked with the United Nations Children's Fund, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS and Botswana’s Ministry of Health. Dr Moeti’s accolades include an Honorary Fellowship from LSHTM, an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ghana, Honoris Causa Doctorate by Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, COVID-19 Heroine by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf President Center for Women, and Women of 2020, Financial Times. Dr Moeti obtained her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree from the University of London and a Master of Science in Community Health from LSHTM.

 The series is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

LSHTM Charite Berlin BMGF

LSHTM's response to COVID-19

LSHTM experts are involved in many different aspects of COVID-19 research as well as providing guidance to those responding around the globe every day. Find out about our latest research, news, events and free online courses on the outbreak.

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