How will COVID-19 transform global health post-pandemic? Defining research and investment opportunities and priorities

PLoS Medicine
(Accessed 13 Mar 2021)


How will COVID-19 transform global health post-pandemic? Defining research and investment opportunities and priorities
Michael Reid, Quarraisha Abdool-Karim, Elvin Geng, Eric Goosby
Editorial | published 11 Mar 2021 PLOS Medicine
…Achieving rapid pandemic control is possible but is predicated on decisive leadership and collaboration for COVID-19 responses—at global, national and local levels—and a commitment to leave no one behind. Global health diplomacy has a critical role to play in catalysing governments and non-state actors to enact effective, innovative and just policy solutions. An ‘every country for itself’ approach clearly does not hold up in this interdependent world, and we need reforms. In particular, the International Health Regulations, which govern all countries to have core health system capacities to detect future pandemics, need to be revitalized. More effective rules of the road are also needed to foster cooperation among countries seeking to manage future outbreaks and as a global trigger for the United Nations and other international organizations to take appropriate actions. A well-funded WHO is also essential to effective global health governance and offers a model for global collaboration. The WHO has a critical role to play in supporting all countries to prioritize universal health systems, not only because it will vastly improve health and be an important bulwark against future pandemics, but also to reap marked economic dividends.
Although we have much to learn about SARS-CoV-2, the epidemic and its consequences, the virus has made one thing clear: for any crisis that threatens the globe, the problems of any of us are the problems of all of us. Global post-pandemic recovery must therefore be coordinated and multi-dimensional. Governance systems that are inclusive, accountable and guided by approaches that prioritize transparent, multisectoral decision-making processes are urgently needed to respond effectively. Only a holistic response based on cross-sectoral collaboration at all levels of society can build the necessary resilience to respond to the immediate and long-term effects of COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that no country acting alone can respond effectively to health threats in a globalized world [13]. The crisis has also created a unique opportunity to re-imagine and transform global health so that future pandemics are not nearly as devastating as this one, and that health gains made to date are sustained and strengthened rather than reversed.