Planning for large epidemics and pandemics: Challenges from a policy perspective

Vageesh Jain, Adriano Duse, Daniel G. Bausch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of review Less than two decades into the 21st century, the world has already witnessed numerous large epidemics or pandemics. These events have highlighted inadequacies in both national and international capacity for outbreak prevention, detection, and response. Here, we review some of the major challenges from a policy perspective. Recent findings The most important challenges facing policymakers include financing outbreak preparedness and response in a complex political environment with limited resources, coordinating response efforts among a growing and diverse range of national and international actors, accurately assessing national outbreak preparedness, addressing the shortfall in the global biomedical workforce, building surge capacity of both human and material resources, balancing investments in public health and curative services, building capacity for outbreak-related research and development, and reinforcing measures for infection prevention and control. Summary In recent years, numerous epidemics and pandemics have caused not only considerable loss of life but also billions of dollars of economic loss. Although the events have served as a wake-up call and led to the implementation of relevant policies and counter-measures, such as the Global Health Security Agenda, many questions remain and much work to be done. Wise policies and approaches for outbreak control exist, but will require the political will to implement them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-324
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Disclaimer: The UK Public Health Rapid Support Team is funded by the United Kingdom Department of Health and Social Care. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Health System, the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.


  • epidemics
  • outbreaks
  • pandemics
  • policy
  • preparedness
  • response


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