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Pandemics are 'predictable surprises' that can be prepared for

The WHO already warned for infectious diseases in its 2007 World Health Report 'A safer future: global public health security in the 21st century'. In fact, by then director-general Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun started the report with the remark that in the past century "profound changes have occurred in the way humanity inhabits the planet. The disease situation is anything but stable. Population growth, incursion into previously uninhabited areas, rapid urbanization, intensive farming practices, environmental degradation, and the misuse of antimicrobials have disrupted the equilibrium of the microbial world. New diseases are emerging at the historically unprecedented rate of one per year. Airlines now carry more than 2 billion passengers annually, vastly increasing opportunities for the rapid international spread of infectious agents and their vectors." So many 'predictable surprises', be it at a global level or in specific domains or markets can be prepared for well in advance. As Bazerman & Watkins (2004) argue in their eponymous book, one of the reasons 'we' don't is that significant costs can be saved by postponing it while timing of benefits is uncertain. Do you know the predictable surprises in your sector and are you prepared?


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