More than before, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people have realized that the world is a global village where all countries are connected in one way or another and what happens in one region has direct or indirect effect on the other whether positively or negatively. A virus, originating from one city, in one country, in one continent spread like a wild fire, within a short time, to the rest of the world, affecting people even in very remote regions that sometimes do not even know what is happening in the urban places.
The pandemic did not care whether one is a developed, developing or underdeveloped country or region. In fact, it hit more severely the more developed regions more than the developing ones. Resources were redirected to tackle the pandemic head on, and the economy was adversely affected. Businesses were closed, people lost jobs, adverse economic hardships were experienced and continue to be experienced as medical bills skyrocket and families are forced to sell their properties or use their life savings especially where there is no medical insurance.
With this scenario, it is inevitable to notice that the global health impacted the global economy and vice versa. Based on an outlook of world trends, appearance of other pandemics of different variants of the COVID-19 is forecast. The world as a unit must work together towards taming the adverse transmission and ensure containment within the region of onset.
According to Jayesh Saini, this will be enhanced and made possible if the nations, corporately, through the organizations mandated, carry out disease surveillance more deliberately and continuously such that any suspect cases out of the ordinary can be picked and across border movement – town wise and country wise is controlled, investigations carried out even as mitigation and interventions are sort.
The COVID-19 caught countries flat footed and thus the huge negative global impact. Jayesh says that even as health issues are being taken care of financial resources should be consolidated to ensure that in the unfortunate breakout of another variant or pandemic, there shall be no delay in mobilization of the resources where it is needed and for the purpose it is needed, irrespective of the economic status of the country.
Jayesh says it was an unfortunate yet eye opening experience when the economies that are more endowed froze movement of resources to the developing ones, citing the need to deal with their people first. The desperation was tangible and it also pushed governments to make innovative interventions.
Jayesh notes that the pandemic has to a very great extent affected the implementation of UHC across many nations because of the diversion of resources to mitigate the spread, fatalities and adverse health and economic effects of the pandemic. He points out that it was worse for countries that do not have very good health systems even as he appreciates as a miracle that the impact in Africa was not as adverse as the developed countries had predicted.
This also exposed the weaknesses further and grateful again that even across Africa, countries are now engaging to seek for homegrown solutions to avert massive calamities in a continent that has in the past been plagued with various life-threatening diseases and natural calamities. For example, various African countries have joined together to come up with protocols and mechanisms of ensuring the continent is self-sufficient in vaccine manufacturing with focus on advancement in technology, research, development and prototyping vaccines in line with the continent’s health patterns.
Such endeavors are welcome and should be encouraged as part of the global agenda to consolidate health related resources for better health outcomes. For best outcomes, governments should partner with the private sectors, philanthropes, development partners and other able financing agencies to ensure equity, transparency and accountability. In a nutshell, with goodwill from all stakeholders, all the people can have access to quality, timely, affordable and easily accessible healthcare and all countries would attain UHC according to the timelines.