In a short span of 3 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world, impacting everyone, everywhere. As I write this, nearly 1.3 million people have been confirmed to have the infection and nearly 70,000 people are known to have died from the coronavirus.
When the pandemic is eventually brought under control (hopefully soon!), I believe, along with a dozen experts I interviewed, it will profoundly change the field of global health. In some ways, the pandemic will make global health easier. In other ways, the pandemic will make global health much harder. Much harder.
The positive fallout
The pandemic has made global health easier because we don't have to show the world is interlinked. Even a school child today knows what happens in Wuhan can profoundly affect the health of New York City. “Everyone in the world now understands that their health and sheer life can be put at risk by things far on the other side of the world - health interdependence,” said Sridhar Venkatapuram, a global health professor at King’s College, London.
We don't have to make a case for investing in health – every country has learnt the hard lesson that pandemics can destroy the global economy and cost trillions. Investing in health is investing in the economy. “We will see a renewed attention to and re-positioning of health on the political agenda, as people become more clearly aware of the role of governments in health, and as governments will have a hard time reversing the positive measures they’ve put in place to respond to COVID-19. Calls for universal health coverage (UHC) may become more and more compelling,” said Seye Abimbola, Editor of BMJ Global Health, and professor at the University of Sydney.