The global increase in COVID-19 cases in 2021 has primarily been due to an uncontrolled surge in South Asia. It is estimated that by 1 September 2021, approximately 1.4 million in South Asians will die due to COVID-19 alone. The total number of excess deaths will be much higher - including non-COVID cauuses, as health systems are on the brink of collapse. With 33.4% of South Asians being extremely poor and the large-scale loss of livelihood being reported, the region faces a potentially catastrophic future for the ongoing decade. However, countries in South Asia continue to remain divisive. This differs from other geographic ‘blocs’ that frequently cooperate on mutual interest issues. Tensions in South Asia are shaped by complex domestic, bilateral, intra-regional and international geopolitical factors, despite the region’s obvious geographic, economic and cultural interdependence. A key lesson from the current pandemic is that countries need to share lessons and actively coordinate, complement and supplement each other’s public health responses, especially between neighbours.
Read the Editorial published in BMJ Global Health presents a pragmatic ‘Stronger Together’ agenda on critical areas of concern for political, social, medical and public health leaders in South Asia to consider and build on here https://gh.bmj.com/content/6/8/e006776 (open access)
With best regards
Dr. Soumyadeep Bhaumik
Please use official e-mail ID for correspondence regarding The George Institute for Global Health, India
HIFA profile: Soumyadeep Bhaumik was the HIFA Country Representative of the Year for 2012, and is a medical doctor from India working in the field of evidence syntheses. He has previously worked as a Senior Research Scientist at the South Asian Cochrane Network and Centre, India and as a Biomedical Genomics Fellow in BioMedical Genomics Centre, Kolkata. He has also consulted for evidence synthesis projects for Evidence Aid, Oxford UK and Public Health Foundation of India.He currently studies international public health in the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. In addition he has experience in science and research communication and has written for British Medical Journal, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Lancet and Lancet Oncology and National Medical Journal of India. Soumyadeep is a member of the HIFA working group on Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice. http://www.hifa.org/projects/evidence-informed-policy-and-practice drsoumyadeepbhaumik AT gmail.com