1918 Flu Centennial
It’s a new chapter for preparedness: The pandemic many experts warned about has arrived, and is laying bare the gaps in readiness around the world. What can we learn from the past as we tackle the challenges SARS-CoV-2 has unleashed? In September 2018, the Harvard Global Health Institute hosted Outbreak Week, a week of explorations of key questions related to preventing pandemics in the 21st century, inspired by the centennial of the 1918 influenza pandemic. From how epidemic responses are financed to why Merck is hesitant to repeat the experiences of developing an Ebola vaccine to how to fight misinformation and how to increase international collaboration, you can explore videos, twitter summaries & more from this extraordinary, multi-disciplinary deep dive on pandemic preparedness here.
Since 2018, HGHI has been working with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC to bring their exhibit “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World” to Harvard University and the global community. By sharing the exhibit, we hope to increase awareness of epidemic and pandemic infectious disease risks (such as Zika, Nipah, Lassa Fever, Ebola HIV, MERS and SARS) around the world and to build community engagement in epidemic and pandemic preparedness worldwide through leading institutions of public health. This will be particularly important in low and middle income countries, and in places where disease outbreaks are more frequent (or severe) and where access to this kind of information, depicted visually, is less available.
The exhibit provides a better understanding of what scientists, researchers, policymakers and citizens are doing and what they can do to better prevent, detect and contain outbreaks; and 2) to gain a better understanding of modern epidemics through a historical lens, and 3) to learn about advancements that have been made in the last few decades and challenges that remain. By displaying these exhibits around the world at the same time, we aim to strengthen the global academic community around these issues and to increase investment in and research on topics in epidemic and pandemic preparedness through participating institutions and beyond.