COVID-19: WHO chief identifies five “vital changes” to tackle inequality |


“While all of us are undoubtedly affected by the epidemic, the poorest and most marginalized are the most affected – in terms of lives and livelihoods lost,” She said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, speaking in Geneva on Tuesday.

Major barrier

At the start of the year, Tedros called on countries to start vaccinating all health workers within the first 100 days of 2021. About 190 countries met the deadline, while the Global Vaccine Equality Initiative, COVAXWith 36 million doses delivered worldwide.

Tedros said increased production and equitable distribution remained the main obstacle to ending the acute phase of the epidemic. “It’s a joke that health workers and high-risk groups in some countries remain completely unvaccinated,” he said.

Who is the It will continue to call on governments to share vaccine doses and support the ACT Accelerator for a fair distribution of vaccines, rapid tests and treatments.

Invest in primary health care

As the pandemic exposed the fragility of health systems, Tedros stressed the need for greater investment in primary health care. At least half of the world’s population still does not have access to basic health services, while 100 million fall into poverty every year due to medical expenses.

“As countries progress beyond-Covid-19, It will be essential to avoid cuts to public spending on health and other social sectors. Such cuts are likely to add to hardship among the already disadvantaged.

Instead, governments should target spending an additional 1% of GDP on primary health care, while also working to address the shortfall of 18 million health workers needed globally to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.

Social protection, and safe neighborhoods

Tedros also encouraged national authorities to give priority to health and social protection, and to build safe, healthy and inclusive neighborhoods.

“Having healthy housing, in safe neighborhoods, is essential to achieving health for all,” he said. But all too often, the lack of basic social services for some communities lock them into a cycle of disease and insecurity. That must change. ”

Countries must also step up efforts to reach rural communities with health and other basic services. Tedros noted that “80 percent of the world’s population living in extreme poverty live in rural areas, where 7 out of 10 people lack basic sanitation and water services.”

On the last point, the WHO chief emphasized the need to strengthen health data and information systems, which are crucial in finding and addressing inequality.

“Monitoring health inequality should be an integral part of all national health information systems – at present only half of the world’s countries have the capacity to do so,” he said.

More to track …
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