Coronavirus (244) COVID-19 gives the lie to global health expertise

27 March, 2020

Sarah Dalglish (Johns Hopkins School of Public Health) writes: 'We must move quickly, for our own security, beyond the rhetoric of equality to the reality of a more democratic, more multipolar, more networked, and more distributed understanding and operation of global health.'

CITATION: COVID-19 gives the lie to global health expertise

Sarah L Dalglish

Published:March 26, 2020

DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30739-X

SELECED EXTRACTS

'The 2019 Global Health Security Index, an assessment of 195 countries' capacity to face infectious disease outbreaks, compiled by the US-based Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health's Center for Health Security. The USA was ranked first, and the UK second...'

'Things look different now. The US and UK Governments have provided among the world's worst responses to the pandemic, with sheer lies and incompetence from the former, and near-criminal delays and obfuscation from the latter. Neither country has widespread testing available, as strongly recommended by WHO, alongside treatment and robust contact tracing. In neither country do health workers have adequate access to personal protective equipment; nor are there nearly enough hospital beds to accommodate the onslaught of patients. Even worse, by refusing to ease sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba, the US has crippled the ability of other countries to respond...

Meanwhile, Asian countries, including China, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, have provided rapid, effective, and often innovative responses...

Although it is too early to assess the strength of the COVID-19 response in Africa, African countries, despite limited resources, have also adopted measures worth imitating, such as simplified triage strategies...

We must move quickly, for our own security, beyond the rhetoric of equality to the reality of a more democratic, more multipolar, more networked, and more distributed understanding and operation of global health.'

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Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org