[Post written as part of the Governance subject in the ISGlobal Master of Global Health.]
Will we ever learn? Despite yet another epidemic, after Ebola, Zika, Influenza and many others, now SARS-CoV-2 shakes our world! The difference this time is that strikes directly that part of the wealthy hemisphere and it is on a global scale!
Like a scholar, reluctant to repeat a failed exam, global health authorities must retake the test to strengthen their conceptual pivots and ensure global health security.
Chiefly, the World Health Organization (WHO) has attempted to coordinate 196 countries and establish a jointly effort to manage COVID-19 Response. Some repetitive criticisms have emerged during the last annual meeting of the World Health Organization’s Executive Board. The mandate behind global health governance is not performing the intended purpose. Repeating the same errors over again without considering previous experiences and teachings, it is something we should all go back to class for.
More than ever, we must respect and take collective actions in response of the complex global health challenges to guarantee an equitable health to all
Lesson number 1
More than ever, we must respect and take collective actions in response of the complex global health challenges to guarantee an equitable health to all. Again, COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates how inequalities are a reality in this world. In the landscape to secure as many as possible supplies (masks, food, vaccines, medical equipment, etc…), the prosperous countries acted individually and for their own self- interest, pursuing bilateral trades and guaranteeing their personal stocks. The rest of the developing countries were left behind struggling to grab the leftovers. Nationalism has prevailed on global health solidarity and national leaders has prioritized their own good instead of collaborating for an optimal sharing of the resources.
Lesson number 2
Until the moment we do not understand that health is not an abstract concept and we have to invest on it, we will suffer tragic consequences. Considering that, WHO core funding for health emergencies are unreliable and they have significantly been reduced over time, catastrophic allocation of the financing has brought scarce preparedness and delayed in the pandemic response supports. We have faceted the disruption of many health systems and we are still counting the loss of millions of lives. To build the public health capacities required a higher, more commitment and equitable spending by the state members.
Nowadays, the illimited access to information has create an overwhelmed spread of distorted news, losing the credibility and the sense of what is the truth behind scientific knowledge. Transparency and candour of the public health messages should be one of the top priorities in such as networked planet
Lesson number 3
Despite multi-sector and multi stakeholder collaboration has reviled an essential player in tackling any health emergencies, the complex structure involving infinite number of global health actors and confusion over their functions, had led to a desynchronized effort to fight this disease. WHO guidance would serve the purpose if only additional clarity of the obligation rules will be crystal clear.
Lesson number 4
Trusted leadership implies effective and transparent risk communication to the global community. During the pandemic, the discreditation of the scientific society caused by dissentient voices, impacted the trust of authorities and damaged their health interventions. Nowadays, the illimited access to information has create an overwhelmed spread of distorted news, losing the credibility and the sense of what is the truth behind scientific knowledge. Transparency and candour of the public health messages should be one of the top priorities in such as networked planet.
Without wasting anymore time, COVID-19 pandemic must be the turning point necessary to improve Global Health Governance
No more teaching… Actions!
The massive failure in dealing with the global pandemic is teaching us, in the hard way, that we are all part of the same macrocosm and diseases goes beyond imaginary boundaries of States.
Many other learnings could be taken from this global crisis but mostly, I think, state leaders should focus on recognising the Right of Health and acting as a united organism to defend health security at the global level. A call for action in transforming the norms that regulate global health society is need it and an open dialogue about the problematic affecting intergovernmental rules must be taken.
Without wasting anymore time, COVID-19 pandemic must be the turning point necessary to improve Global Health Governance.
Related Blog Posts