Only in 2020, there have been at least 3 million dead from COVID-19, although the true figure is probably 2-3 times higher. In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage and is likely to last even into 2022 and beyond. For ten weeks in a row, from the first week of February, 2021, nine daily homes in the world pink, driven in part by virus variants and by many countries ending public health measures too soon. There always are around 600,000 new homes every day. Nations such as Brazil, Canada, India, Iran, and Turkey – as well as some US states such as Michigan and Minnesota – have recently experienced COVID-19 surges that in some places have survived their health systems. India, in particular, has become a cautionary tale about how devastating the pandemic can get worse. While some rich nations like Israel and Britain have run out of their own recent wealth in part because of rapid roll-out of vaccination, low- and middle-income countries have so few doses of vaccines that less than 1% of its populations are vaccinated, according to Gro Brundtland, former director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, as two global health professionals collaborating with institutions such as the WHO and with researchers in countries such as India, Kenya and South Africa, we see COVID-19 revolutionizing healthcare around the world. in ways that could have lasting benefits. The pandemic has caused a lot of suffering while simultaneously will accelerate the adoption of new ways to improve global health.
There has been a maritime change in the way new healthcare technologies are researched, developed and manufactured
The vaccines that were licensed the fastest using new approaches — mRNAs (Pfizer and Modern) and viral vectors (AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson). Researchers and pharmaceutical companies now use these approaches to test and develop vaccines for a number of other diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. And COVID-19 has unleashed several other new ways of doing science. It is accelerate international collaborations. It has sparked an unprecedented mobilization of research funds to develop new diagnoses, treatments and vaccines. Multi-country assessments accelerate the process of evaluating new products. And for the first time, COVID-19 has encouraged scientists around the world to share their research immediately. online without paywalls as soon as his newspapers were ready.
However, the pandemic has also shown where obstacles remain in the R&D ecosystem. For example, the manufacture of new health technologies is still done mainly in rich nations, and these technologies in the end to drip to low-income nations. Such manufacturing must be globalized so that middle- and low-income countries become self-sufficient in the production of their health tools. The process of regulatory approval around the world should become faster and simplified. And, above all, we need to put in place a system to prevent rich nations from accumulating vaccines, diagnostics and medicines in future pandemics.
Citizens benefit from new ways of providing health care
COVID-19 has forced the global adoption of telemedicine. For example, a American study found a 50% increase in telecare visits in the first three months of 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. The benefits of telemedicine, the researchers say, include “expanded access to telemedicine. ‘assistance, reducing exposure to disease for staff and patients, preserving scarce supplies of personal protective equipment, and reducing patients’ demand on facilities ’.
Every clinic we’ve talked to – doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses – who have run telemedicine clinics during COVID-19 tell us that they want such clinics to remain a permanent part of health care delivery. They have been able to reach patients in rural communities and tell us that many of their patients find telemedicine more convenient. Zeynep Tufekci, Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science, sustain that telehealth visits change the game. “Such visits are clearly not appropriate for every condition,” she says, but “when justified, they can make it much easier for people to access medical care without worrying about transportation, child care, or time. excessive away from work ”.
In middle- and low-income countries, telecare has been used during the pandemic as a low-cost service to reach people in poor or remote areas. In India, now, home care is the only realistic option for millions of people, as hospitals are overcrowded. We also saw community health workers empowered with digital tablets providing health care in resource-poor regions, such as in the remote Peruvian Amazon.
In many parts of the world, services that were designed for non-COVID conditions such as the prevention and treatment of HIV and TB needed to be redirected toward the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. For example, a investigation last year found that at least 40% of national TB programs used TB hospitals and dispensaries for the COVID-19 response. Services for noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease have also been redirected to COVID-19. To test and maintain services for such conditions that are not COVID, many health systems have adopted a variety of other innovations in the provision of primary health care that are likely to become permanent. These include self-testing, in which citizens are tested at home for various diseases included HIV; self-control of diseases included diabetes; and “sharing tasks”, In which services are provided by teams of different healthcare workers with different sets of skills.
Rich nations finally realize that they have a lot to learn from less rich nations
About six weeks before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, three organizations – the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and the Economist Intelligence Unit – published the Global Health Security Index, which ranks nations based on how well they were prepared to deal with a pandemic. Out of 195 nations, the United States was ranked first and the United Kingdom second. These two rich countries are over mock their COVID-19 responses and have two of the highest death rates in the world. The complacent and often arrogant northern world finally realizes that it has much to learn from the less wealthy nations, including on the importance of investing in public health infrastructure, engaging communities in the fight against public health crises, and using clear and consistent public health messages.
We have better to fight against scientific misinformation
Conspiracy theories, false remedies, and anti-science ideas abounded during COVID-19, from the strange notion that Bill Gates put a microchip in COVID-19 vaccines to the numerous dangerous allegations of former President Donald Trump, such as his argument that injecting disinfectant or carrying “light into the body” could cure COVID-19. Meanwhile, social media has given anti-vaxxers and other negatives of science a bigger platform for their dangerous opinions.
The good news is that scientists have responded with urgency and creativity to fight what the WHO calls a “infodemic. “Nine hubs for this essential effort, such as the University of Washington Center for an Informed Public, u Taiwan FactCheck Center, is from Great Britain Science Media Center– like a new university courses and books– have emerged to specifically address misinformation. Despite such efforts, the issue of vaccines is still a major problem during this pandemic and we will have to redouble our efforts to combat disinformation.
COVID-19 has been used to reinvent how we teach global health
Alongside COVID-19, the year 2020 has seen calls for racial justice and the global health and development community to recognize its roots in colonialism and white supremacy and become ”sculpted. “We recently partnered with 18 other academics who teach global health to write one article in which we use the COVID-19 pandemic to reimagine our teaching of the future. We argue that COVID-19 should push us to reimagine global health education, focusing more on equity and human rights and integrating anti-racism and anti-oppression into our courses.
COVID-19 has been the deadliest pandemic in a hundred years. One in three The Americans have lost someone to the coronavirus, and India is the next epicenter. The scars will be durable. But the pandemic has also catalyzed innovation in science and the delivery of health care, pushed rich nations to learn from the poorest, forced us to turn back a tide of misinformation, pushed health further into high on the world and national agenda and has made us better teachers. From the crisis comes the opportunity.