The COVID-19 pandemic clearly showed that health systems need to be well-prepared to deal with emergencies and disasters. Epidemics, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, among other emergencies, require concerted action not only within countries but also between countries. An adequate and timely response to emergencies includes research, human resources for health, equipment, supply chains, laboratory support and adequate and timely communication of information to the population, among other aspects. In the context of emergencies, international cooperation between countries becomes more important than ever.
The American Public Health Association and the Pan American Health Organization also have a history of cooperation spanning more than 100 years. This special issue jointly produced by the American Journal of Public Health and the Pan American Journal of Public Health is yet another example of that cooperation. The articles present a perspective on emergency preparedness from different countries in the Region of the Americas, including the impact of the pandemic, the necessary responses from essential public health functions, and the digital transformations required to strengthen health systems.
All articles are available free of charge and in full text in English in the American Journal of Public Health and in Spanish in the Pan American Journal of Public Health. English articles can be accessed individually from the links below; the whole supplement can also be accessed here.