Coronavirus (307) Mass migration in India (3) Pandemic preparedness

2 April, 2020

Dear all,

The tragedy of India’s migrant labourers demonstrates that there are no simple solutions to reduce the virus infection pathways. A shut down for people who live on a day to day basis to feed themselves does not work. In industrialised rich countries governments offer billions to closed businesses to survive the economic impact.

In Kenya a community of ‘Indian’ Kenyans packed and distributed thousands of food boxes to slum dwellers. If a decision cuts off the essential source of living an alternative has to be set-up or chaos will result.

In Germany we increased our hospital and Intensive Care capacity. So far so good. Nevertheless, we experience a shortage of protective gears at several levels of the health system, caretakers in pension homes etc.

Pandemic preparedness can be found on plans and in documents. It means to take action before any pandemic occurs, to define minimum stocks of protective gears, to plan for basic needs of a population.

The success we saw in reducing poverty of the world population was not enough. We lack a Universal Health Coverage as many health systems are completely under financed. Health care too often follows mainly economic profit targets. Supplies and provision of medicines and medical items are ruled by just-in-time mind-set.

To be able to manage pandemics better, each government would need to present a plan and its practical implications before the next world-wide outbreak of an infectious disease.

The most painful learning is that the lack of proper pandemic preparedness costs us many lives and results in an economic damage by far bigger than any investment for a sufficient preparedness.

Best regards


APOTHEKER HELFEN e.V./German Pharmacists’ Aid

Dr. Andreas Wiegand

Geschäftsführer/General Manager

Maria-Theresia-Straße 28

D-81675 München

T.: +49 (0)89 - 45 207 307

F: +49 (0)89 - 45 207 308



HIFA profile: Andreas Wiegand is General Secretary at Apotheker Helfen e.V.,German Pharmacists's Aid, in Germany. Professional interests: Strengthening pharmaceutical and health services requires the access to evidence-based medical information. Any medicine or medical device needs the right information to be used efficiently. German Pharmacists' Aid support health institutions, health professionals and cooperates with other organisation in emergency situations and in long term projects. andreas.wiegand AT