‘We must invest more in prevention and safety’

How can we be better prepared for the next pandemic? This question will be the focus of WUR’s Dies Natalis (Founders Day) on 9 March. Guest speaker Henk Bekedam, who worked for the WHO for nearly 24 years, will offer an analysis. ‘Covid-19 exposes all the weaknesses in the healthcare system.’

‘I haven’t got involved in discussions about whether the schools should open or stay closed, or whether the curfew is a good idea,’ says Henk Bekedam. ‘I look at the coronavirus epidemic at a more systemic level. In my opinion, Covid-19 exposes the weaknesses of the healthcare system. We can and must learn from that.’

Henk Bekedam worked for the World Health Organization (WHO) for nearly 24 years. As WHO Representative, it was his job to advise on the SARS epidemic in China and the coronavirus crisis in India. He returned to the Netherlands last summer in the middle of the pandemic. He has since been appointed chair of the expert group that will advise the ministries of Health and Agriculture on how the Dutch healthcare system can be better geared up for coping with zoonoses. Wim van de Poel of WUR is in the expert group too.

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