Coronavirus (245) Tha Lancet: COVID-19: learning from experience

27 March, 2020

Dear HIFA colleagues,

Citation and extracts below of a lead editorial in The Lancet. (Meanwhile, I heard just now on the radio that UK Prime Minister Boris Johsnon has tested positive for the virus, thankfully with mild symptoms to date.)

CITATION: Editorial| volume 395, issue 10229, p1011, march 28, 2020

COVID-19: learning from experience

The Lancet

Published: March 28, 2020

DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30686-3

'Many countries are still not following WHO's clear recommendations on containment (widespread testing, quarantine of cases, contact tracing, and social distancing) and have instead implemented haphazard measures, with some attempting only to suppress deaths by shielding the elderly and those with certain health conditions...'

'Health workers have shown an incredible commitment to their communities and responded with compassion and resolve to tackle the virus despite challenging and sometimes dangerous conditions. Neighbours have organised to support vulnerable people; businesses and national governments have stepped up to provide support for those who need it and strengthen social security and health services. The pandemic has also brought examples of international solidarity, with the sharing of resources, information, and expertise from countries further ahead in the epidemic, or with better results in controlling the spread.

'There is a growing understanding about the importance of the collective and community. Europe and the USA have shown that putting off preparation, in either the hope of containment elsewhere or a mood of fatality, is not effective. It is imperative that the global community takes advantage of this spirit of cooperation to avoid repeating this error in more vulnerable countries. WHO has provided consistent, clear, and evidence-based recommendations; communicated effectively; and navigated difficult political situations shrewdly. The world is not lacking effective global leadership. The central role played by WHO in coordinating the global response must continue, and countries and donors need to support WHO in these efforts.'

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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