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From the current pandemic, what can we learn and change in healthcare systems to achieve SDG 3?

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

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We are currently living through the Coronavirus pandemic which has completely disrupted the modes of governance with repercussions on domains and strategic systems of sovereignty. Naturally, the most affected system is that of national and international health. The coordinated provision of medical treatment to individuals or groups of people differs from country to country, city to city, and community to community. This pandemic took its first steps in China, in the city of Wuhan, but as time passes, SARS-CoV-2 is claiming victims in every corner of the Earth, even in the most remote areas. We, therefore, had the opportunity to investigate the health systems renowned as being the most efficient and to learn about the resilience of the health economies established in most countries. After all, it is time to empower stakeholders to ensure good health and good life for all people on Earth.

This epidemic has shed light on the dangerousness of the complete privatization of the health sector. Since the commercialization of this system pushes to monetize medical coverage while reducing its access to underprivileged populations. In such situations where the number of people affected increases rapidly, and where the cost of care is colossal, it is beneficial for the State to have the possibility of acting quickly to protect these citizens without facing capitalist conglomerates which mainly focus on gain. Therefore, States should have sovereignty funds that can be released in emergency cases. Unfortunately, India is paying a heavy price for the privatization of its medical system, let us hope that the Indian government takes its responsibilities to stop this disaster affecting this country with a large population. This remark is very palpable in poor countries, which focus primarily on receiving financial and material aid instead of having their national funds where they could have drawn resources to deal with their first contaminated cases. The real problem here is that humanitarian aid arrives very late as creditor countries prioritize their populations in times of crisis and bureaucracy also slows down the flow of money between states. This has been the case in African countries like Guinea and Congo recently.

Also, medicine is a sector that continues to improve over time, when we look at the progress that has been made by pioneers such as Louis Pasteur, Edward Jenner and Elizabeth Blackwell, we realize that we have accumulated a lot of success. Support from medical research and development have helped to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all. In turn, we are seeing an increase in life expectancy around the world. According to the World Bank, the median life expectancy is 72 years while it was 52 years in 1960. Therefore, the French presidency realized the significance of the budget of research while the health crisis was killing people in the country. With a domestic expenditure on research and development already amounted to € 50.6 billion, representing 2.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017; the French president, Emmanuelle Macron, has pledged an additional 5 billion euros over the next ten years to finance research that will strengthen French capacities in such circumstances. This is a noteworthy example to be commended, and this attitude should encourage other heads of state to do the same.

Then, we will have to focus on prevention and rapid response specific to the disease and the area where the pandemic is triggered. In medical matters and especially in epidemic situations characterized by rapid contamination, prevention and rapid response are primary instruments that health managers must use in the fight against viruses. These methods of prevention and response must be established after studying the modes of propagation of the virus. Knowing that the first cases of death from Coronavirus were counted in the localities of Wuhan and Hubei, the local authorities had to set up an isolation program for the affected areas accompanied by the establishment of a scheme of emergency to learn more about the disease and quickly come to support the first patients.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are global, which means that they target every human being. Achieving these objectives is the goal set by international actors engaged on their part locally and/or internationally. This forasmuch as invites the pooling of forces while inhibiting the hidden issues as well as the selfish interests of certain stakeholders. Hence, the analysis of the attitudes of decision-makers demonstrated passive solidarity regarding trust between states. We consequently invite those responsible here in the fight against large-scale diseases to be much more transparent and to share any beneficial information with their partners. When lives are at stake the seriousness of everyone is more than welcome to educate not only those infected with a disease but also to inform those who feel safe; because many diseases do not respect conventional borders and make victims around the globe.

After all, we have elaborated here on the mistakes that we made and the experience that we have gained in terms of the contribution made to our health systems during this pandemic which continues to kill on our dear planet. The SDG3 which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages is at risk if we do not put in place policies and infrastructures to strengthen present healthcare systems and prepare them for future challenges. Medical tourism which had taken great leaps forward in previous years should no longer be a major plan for health systems, the urgency here is to succeed in providing each country with robust systems ready and available promptly.

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