PEAH News Flash 380

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

News Flash 380


COVID-19 Call to Action: Short – Term Assignments with the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) 

WHO May Host Virtual World Health Assembly May 18 – COVID-19 To Be Main Agenda Item 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation reports 

Coronavirus Response: Commission adopts banking package to facilitate lending to households and businesses in the EU 

Modelling the COVID-19 epidemic and implementation of population-wide interventions in Italy 

‘The World Should Have Listened To WHO’ Says Director General Tedros; Arthritis Drug Shows Promising Results Against COVID-19 In Early Trials 

Coronavirus: ‘One billion’ could become infected worldwide – report 

Study from Chinese City of Shenzhen, Outside Hong Kong in Southern China, Provides Key Insights on How Coronavirus Spreads. ANALYSIS SHOWS HOW EXTENSIVE TESTING AND CONTACT TRACING STOPPED OUTBREAK IN SOUTH CHINESE MEGACITY 

Stop Using The Term ‘Social Distancing’ — Start Talking About ‘Physical Distancing, Social Connection’ 

Contact Tracing Apps: Extra Risks for Women and Marginalized Groups 

Eyeball fever scan ‘could prevent spread of COVID-19’ 

Coronavirus | Why pathogens travel in search of a host 

G20 debt service suspension: A response not fit for purpose (II) 

Opinion: Without funding, there will be no COVID-19 vaccine 

EECA’s response to Covid-19 

Updates – African Countries With Confirmed COVID-19 Cases 

Pandemic Lays Bare Africa’s Deficits, but Youth Will Grow the Future 

More than 13 million children globally missed out routine vaccinations – even before Covid-19 struck 

‘COVID-19 And Global Inequality’: What Needs To Be Done? 

Covid-19 affects everything—more than a disease control plan, we need a manifesto 

Build diverse food systems for post-COVID-19 world 

Understanding the Hunger Surge Caused by the COVID-19 Recession to Mitigate It Before It Is Too Late 

Women Face Amplified Risks in the Pandemic. Funders Are Responding

Giving birth amid a pandemic in Belgium: the challenges faced by mothers and midwives 


TDR publishes new guidance on multisectoral approach to help prevent and control vector-borne diseases 

2020-2021 Joint EMRO/TDR Small Grants Scheme Implementation Research on Infectious Diseases of Poverty: Call for Applications- Deadline for applications: 1 June 2020 

European education corridors: opportunity for academic solidarity 

EU lawmaker puts 65% emissions cut on the table 

From yachts to biofuel, how Spanish farmers are embracing circular economy 

How Do Development Agencies Support Climate Action? 

What’s needed from the Petersberg Climate Dialogue? Climate Finance! When is it needed? Now! 

Can We Use COVID-19 To Transition Towards A Greener, Healthier Future? – Climate Experts Weigh In 







PEAH News Flash 379

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

News Flash 379


WHO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation reports 

Coronavirus: Australia urges G20 action on wildlife wet markets 

Coronavirus: Commission launches data sharing platform for researchers 

Leave Politics Out Of Pandemic: WHO Rebuts United States Criticism Over COVID-19 Early Warnings 

Defunding WHO: Why The President’s Decision Makes America Less Safe 

Covid-19: Trump halts WHO funding in move labelled “petulant” and “short sighted” 

Multilateralism Through Public-Private Partnerships Are Key to Flattening the COVID-19 Curve 

Sanità c’era una volta il multilaterialismo: con l’Oms sotto attacco si scherza col fuoco 

COVID-19: time to plan for prompt universal access to diagnostics and treatments 

British scientist to head UN task force distributing Covid-19 vaccine as US blocks G20 agreement 

The Economic Impact of COVID-19 around the World: A Round-Up of the Most Recent Analysis 

COVID-19 Impact on the Pharmaceutical Industry: Major Challenges and the Way Forward by Aboli Mandurnekar

COVID-19: How Do We Re-open the Economy? 

Despite The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, COVID-19 Evaluation Is Not Necessarily Free 

The moment to see the poor 

How Can We Protect The Health of Justice-Involved Populations During the COVID-19 Pandemic? Decarceration and Timely Access to Medicaid Are Essential 

CGD Conversations on COVID-19 and Development: Antoinette Sayeh WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 2020 – 10:00AM ET 

How the coronavirus pandemic exploits the worst aspects of extreme inequality 

European Union Draft Resolution on COVID-19 for WHA73 

G20 debt service suspension: A response not fit for purpose (I) 

How COVID-19 Debt Relief for Africa Will Help World Economies 

International Public Finance and COVID-19: A New Architecture is Urgently Needed 

Coronavirus spread triggers World Bank pandemic bond payout 

Who Cares for the Future: finance gender responsive public services! 

Watch: How Rwanda got ahead of the pandemic curve 

No Exit? The United Kingdom’s Probable Russian Future by Ted Schrecker 

FAO’s Big Data tool on food chains under the COVID-19 pandemic 

Only ecology-based economies can avoid future catastrophe 

Haunting Forest Spirits – is Mother Nature Striking Back? 

WHO guidance helps detect iron deficiency and protect brain development 



No Exit? The United Kingdom’s Probable Russian Future

Some insights here by Professor Theodore Schrecker as a renowned political scientist specializing in the political economy of health and health inequalities

By Ted Schrecker

Professor of Global Health Policy, Population Health Science Institute, Newcastle University

No Exit? The United Kingdom’s Probable Russian Future


As many governments are announcing strategies for ending lockdowns, we have the curious situation in which the leader of the Labour Party and the Adam Smith Institute agree that the UK government needs to set out such a strategy, but the government refuses to do so.  It says only that five tests must first be met, but gives no evidence of being able to meet any one of them.

This is dangerously irresponsible, and is likely to have long-term negative consequences for public health and health inequalities – consequences that most public health researchers and practitioners seem determined to ignore.  Look ahead, for example, to next January when new border controls (the UK imports 30 percent of its food from the European Union) create food shortages whilst economic collapse worsens fuel poverty that was already a substantial public health issue before the pandemic.

In the absence of a clear, credible and rigorously implemented exit strategy, the future may well resemble the situation in Russia after the collapse of the former Soviet Union.  The economy contracted by close to 50 percent, existing social provision mechanisms and large portions of the health care system crumbled, and life expectancy – especially for men, who now are hit harder by the coronavirus – plunged by several years.  Conventional wisdom attributes a substantial part of this transition to alcohol consumption, but from a social determinants of health perspective this is explanandum rather than explanans: that is, it demands explanation rather than providing one.  Twenty-five years on, Russian life expectancy still did not reflect the country’s economic recovery.  That recovery was accompanied by rising economic inequality, massive capital flight, and the emergence of a new stratum of politically connected billionaire oligarchs.

All this could be avoided, but there is no sign that either the UK government or the public health community are even taking these risks seriously.


Additional sources on the Russian experience: 

Field MG and Twigg JL, eds. Russia’s Torn Safety Nets: Health and Social Welfare during the Transition. New York: St. Martin’s Press; 2000.

Field MG, Kotz DM, Bukhman G. Neoliberal Economic Policy, “State Desertion,” and the Russian Health Crisis. In: Kim JY, Millen JV, Irwin A, Gershman J, eds. Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press; 2000: pp. 155-73.


This posting also appears on Prof. Schrecker’s blog ‘Health as if Everybody Counted


COVID-19 Impact on the Pharmaceutical Industry

Pharmaceutical industry though being a valuable industry at current times of coronavirus health crisis, is facing tough challenges to conduct its business activity. Ongoing and planned clinical trials for other diseases are getting postponed which will delay the development of new medicines. Major events and conferences organized for health care professionals are getting postponed or are already cancelled. Import of raw materials is restricted, which will affect the manufacturing activity and in turn will lead to lower sales....

 By Aboli Mandurnekar

(M.Pharm, MBA), India

COVID-19 Impact on the Pharmaceutical Industry

Major Challenges and the Way Forward


The human race is witnessing an unprecedented health crisis brought by corona virus across the globe. The market is falling, the production units are standing still, and millions of people are suffering the wreck of unemployment. Analysts believe that the economic impact of the corona virus crisis will be worse than the financial crisis of 2007-08.  Every business activity is seeing a downturn in their fortune be it billion Dollars Company or a small retail shop. Even the pharmaceutical industry is not an exception.

Pharmaceutical industry though being a valuable industry at current times of health crisis, is facing tough challenges to conduct its business activity. Ongoing and planned clinical trials for other diseases are getting postponed which will delay the development of new medicines. Major events and conferences organized for health care professionals are getting postponed or are already cancelled. Import of raw materials is restricted, which will affect the manufacturing activity and in turn will lead to lower sales. Insufficient ancillary supplies such as bottles, caps and packaging material for medicine will affect the output, the impact of which is expected to be felt over a period of next 3 to 4 quarters. This supply shortage may also lead to pricing volatility in future. Companies will try to maintain inventories for longer duration, buffer capacity will be increased which may affect the inventory cycles.

Planned mergers and acquisitions, new projects and ventures have been put on hold for a while (for example: Pfizer and Mylan have delayed their generic megamerger). But every crisis brings with it an opportunity and this time the opportunity may knock the doors of small pharmaceutical companies. It is very possible that for cost cutting measures, major drug makers may outsource the projects of secondary importance to smaller pharmaceutical companies. Especially, the domestic players can benefit from grabbing new projects and, if accompanied by favorable government policies, can boost the pharmaceutical business of resource limited as well as developed countries.

China is one of the largest Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients-API producer in the world. Disruption in supply chains may occur as India is the largest supplier of generic drugs worldwide and nearly 70% of its API requirements are fulfilled by imports from China. It will be important to observe what can be a substitute for cost effective imports from China and how the market moves further. Rosemary Gibson has explained the challenges coming up with this dependency very well in her book named China Rx: Exposing the risks of America’s dependence on China for Medicine and we can see the effects in this crisis.

International Pharma Trade Association (IFPMA), WTO and trade authorities of each country are trying to minimize the scarcity of essential medicines in COVID-19 affected areas, raised due to multiple export bans and simultaneous demand of some medical devices and essential medicines. Many countries have started injecting reserves in foreign exchange markets, to face the challenges posed by COVID-19.  Russia has introduced more favorable treatment for FX loans issued to pharmaceutical and medical supplies companies. The Reserve Bank of India has extended the realization period for export proceeds so that companies can retain their buyer contracts in future. This will help in case of Europe and US exports as they are major importers from India and worst affected regions due to COVID-19 outbreak. Nigeria has introduced import duty waivers for pharmaceutical firms. Central Bank of Iran has allocated 0.06 percentage of GDP for import of medicines.

This crisis may also force few companies to think about new business models. Online pharmacy business may show higher growth, especially in the emerging economies, similar to emergence of Alibaba in China post SARS pandemic. We may expect increase in the use of digital channels to interact with healthcare professionals. Companies may focus on backward integration for APIs and intermediates. The thing worth looking for in the future is whether the pre-pandemic scenario in trade will be restored or new countries will emerge as export leaders in next few years as governments will try to become self-sufficient in medical supplies.

As per the World Trade Organization, the trade scenario will largely depend on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of the policy responses. Spending on healthcare by governments will increase. Dependency in terms of imports of APIs of essential drugs like Azithromycin and Cephalosporin should be reduced. Even if we treat this pandemic a one-time shock, we need to build our capability to tackle any such emergencies in future. For now, let’s hope for a quicker recovery from this pandemic and follow social distancing norms as a responsible citizen.





PEAH News Flash 378

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

News Flash 378


Coronavirus: EU Commission issues guidelines on testing 

Coronavirus: European roadmap shows path towards common lifting of containment measures 

Never Let a Crisis Go To Waste 

G20 countries agree debt freeze for world’s poorest countries 

Eurodad reaction to the G20 suspension of debt payments 

IMF Executive Board Approves Immediate Debt Relief for 25 Countries 

IMF Debt Relief: Implications for developing countries 

Six things you should know about Covid-19 and debt for developing countries 

Pressure grows for developing world debt relief over coronavirus 

Confronting COVID-19 In A World Without WHO – Seriously? 

WHO Director General “Regrets” Trump Decision To Suspend Organization’s Funding; UN, European Union, China and Others Decry US Move 

In His Fight Against WHO, Trump Plays Politics with Human Lives 


Public health professionals plead with Trump not to defund WHO 

Time to rally behind the World Health Organization 

Interactive: Who’s funding the COVID-19 response and what are the priorities? 


Access To Affordable Biologics In The Context Of COVID-19: Will WHO Step Up To Its Responsibility? 

International organisations call on UK government to prevent Big Pharma profiteering from COVID-19 

MSF response on COVID-19 drugs pricing study by Andrew Hill et al. 

Protecting Decarcerated Populations In The Era of COVID-19: Priorities For Emergency Discharge Planning 

Not a Moment to Lose: Funders Seek to Speed COVID-19 Research

U.N. agencies: 117 million children may miss measles shots due to COVID-19 

COVID-19: Major relief airlift will reach ‘most vulnerable’ African nations 

Apocalisse a sud del Sahara? 

Don’t panic, experts say after COVID-19 animal killings 

WHO Director-General’s Statement on IHR Emergency Committee on Ebola Virus Disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 

New Ebola case confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 

Can ‘mom n’ pop’ schools help educate the world’s children? 

What is the energy charter treaty? 

France, Germany join group of 10 EU countries calling for green recovery 

Foundation for Louisiana is Taking on Climate Change’s Ripple Effects on Communities






Dear heads of state and government of G20 countries,


We, the undersigned 99 organizations and 40 individuals, call upon you to ensure a robust, coordinated global response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that is humane, equitable, based in the universality of human rights, and meets the needs of countries and people who are most vulnerable and have the fewest resources

PEAH as co-signatory




G20 must lead to protect most vulnerable countries and populations in the face of COVID-19. No time to lose: G20 needs to provide funding, debt relief to less wealthy countries, ensure equitable distribution, protect marginalized & vulnerable populations.

Well over 100 civil society organizations and global health leaders unite in calling for G20 countries to meet their responsibilities during COVID-19 pandemic



Interview to Ms. Gloria Nirere, Menstrual Health Management Trainer in Uganda

 Menstruation matters in resource-limited countries where poverty substantially impacts menstruation health management. In this connection, PEAH had the pleasure to interview Ugandan stakeholder Ms. Gloria Nirere currently involved as menstrual health management trainer at Kampala based WoMena NGO. Previously, Ms. Nirere long served in poorly equipped Ugandan contexts where she performed tasks concerning clinical research, community health, humanitarian assistance, and project management at local and national level

 By Daniele Dionisio

PEAH – Policies for Equitable Access to Health 



Ms. Gloria Nirere

Menstrual Health Management Trainer

WoMena Uganda  


‘Sanitary pads are very hard to buy because the economy is high. Mum cannot give you the money to buy. Not everybody can even get enough money to buy a cotton wool or tissue paper and using a cloth we always fear because it may fall off while with friends’  

— Anonymous (15 years old, Kasese, Uganda) 

Worldwide, a large number of girls and women struggle to manage their menstruation in a dignified way. They not only lack access to menstrual health products, correct knowledge about menstruation and support from their communities but also have limited access to suitable and safe facilities for changing and disposing of sanitary materials.

Source: WoMena


PEAH: Ms. Nirere, let’s start with a glimpse on menstruation matters in your country and to what extent does poverty impact menstruation health management.

Nirere: Menstrual Health mattters have for long not been considered as an important aspect in the most part of the Country. Most people think menstruation is easy to manage but the details of what entails in menstrual health management are not their concern. You find that out of 10 girls, 1 has knowldge about menstruation for her first time menstrual period and the rest struggle silently with pain and fear not knowing what to do next. It is just a few families where they have got chance to access education where a small light is shed about menstruation. Even up to date, most women and girls shy so much away from discussions related to menstruation.

I would say that poverty highly impacts on menstrual health management because most of the beneficiaries give an excuse of lack of money to buy decent sanitary pads leading them to use papers, a piece of cloth, sponges and leaves. On the other hand traditional beliefs and myths about menstruation has caused a lot of menstrual health challenges where women and girls are not free and comfortable during their periods.

PEAH: WoMena is an NGO working with implementation of reproductive health solutions in low-income contexts, focusing on menstrual health & management. Tell us more, please, around WoMena story and profile.

Nirere: The NGO mainly aims at providing menstrual health training to adolescent school girls, women, refuguee settlements, men and boys  and providing menstrual health management products like the menstrual cup with reusable sanitary pads (Afripads).

Credit: WoMena

The key focus is to tackle issues that have come up with stigmatising women and girls due to community related beliefs and myths by involving local and national leaders; and male in menstrual health related issues.

PEAH: In depth, as regards WoMena field activities and approach to menstrual issues?

Nirere: As a WoMena trainer, field work activities involve:

Credit: WoMena
  1. Training of Trainers (T.O.T’s), these are participants who are mainly leaders ( Local Council, teachers, church leaders, district heads etc.) in a community. They are trained to volunteer by training the beneficiaries in the community where they belong. After the training, participants are issued with training materials to support them during trainings. However, if they happen to train, normally they are guided by the trainer from WoMena to monitor and support during the training. They are trained so that they can guide a participant to clarify on certain issues in the absence of the WoMena trainer.

In addition, for the case of school going children, the school organises the parent meeting which is mainly held to train parents and get consent of whether they want their children to have the menstrual health products or not.

  1. T.O.B’s (Training of Beneficiaries)

The beneficiaries are trained in detail about menstrual health management and product use and care. This training is composed of both female and male sex, the male however excused in the last phase for training of product usage (this is done mainly by schools). At the end of training, their given evaluation forms serve to check whether they acquired knowldege from the training.

  1. Refresher training

Before distribution of the product, a refresher training is held to get the depth of knowledge which was acquired in the first training. It also enables the trainer to know areas that need to be retrained to beneficiaries.

  1. Distribution of menstrual health products

Distribution focuses on consent of a parent to her child (18 years and below) or consent of a beneficiary. It also depends on whether the beneficiary participated in all the trainings. Normally, soap, small bucket, a pair of knickers, menstrual cup and reusable pad are distributed. (this depends on funding organisation on whether to give both the menstrual cup and reusable pad).

  1. Follow ups

After a period of 3 to 6 months, 2  follow ups are done to check on product usage and care, challenges and formulation of reports basing on the information obtained from the field.

NB. The top-bottom approach is used to tackle menstrual health issues since acceptance and cultural issues are majorly the main threat to sensitizing communities about menstrual health issues.

PEAH: What do you think about the importance of education and male involvement in menstruation matters in Uganda?

Nirere: It is a very good staregy to involve men in menstrual health issues because when you look at the African setting, the men have most say in financial, social and economic matters of a family and a community. If they ignorate about menstrual health issues, it is very difficult to support their wives, daughters and menstrual health initiatives in communities.

Credit: WoMena

That’s is why WoMena is focussing on male involvement in menstrual health issues by not only having male trainers, but also having male coordinators and trainers in local communities to push the message ahead.

 PEAHWhat are your duties and tasks in WoMena?

Nirere: I faciliate menstrual health training through planning for training sessions and materials, conducting training evaluations, carrying out  follow ups and writing reports associated with the outcomes of the training.

PEAH: Kindly, detail around the effectiveness, safety and acceptance of WoMena backed menstrual cups as menstruation management method in Uganda’s reality.

Nirere: Menstrual cups have not for long been used in Uganda, even the elite women are resisting to use the menstrual cups. Just like any form of new technology being introduced to a place, to which there’s always resistance, this as well applies to menstrual cups.

Credit: WoMena

There are majorly two ares which cause fear among women, most wonder wether the virginal area will become wide, some wonder it is too big to enter the vagina  and others fear that it takes away virginity of a girl child which is highly valued. But through trainings, the Organisation has collaborated with other international organisations like Care international, Save the Children, UNHCR to train women and girls on use and care of menstrual product; and tackles frequently asked questions. Currently, the menstrual cups are on market and the number of women and girls using the cup is gradually increasing.

Credit: WoMena

Adoption of the menstrual cup will tackle very many challenges which come with use of disposable pads, among which the cup is durable because it takes 10 years in use, environmentally friendly and it is less expensive since you do not have to buy pads every month.

PEAH: In this regard, are follow-up study reports on menstrual cups currently available?

Nirere: Yes, they are available but these reports are shared to partner Organisations which fund projects we do.

PEAH: Does WoMena work together with national and/or international partners?

Nirere:  Yes please, information on partners is on the Website.

PEAH: Before engagement in WoMena you long served in poorly equipped Ugandan contexts where you performed tasks concerning clinical research, community health, humanitarian assistance, and project management at local and national level. What challenges did you face there?

Nirere: Very many challenges indeed,  but I embrace the fact that I was able to learn a lot of various skills:

  • First challenge was the strong traditional attachements and ignorance of people. For example, someone tests HIV+ and they go for traditional healers for help. In the process they end up dying or coming to seek medical assistance in critical condition.
  • There’s a lot of dependency where people believe that their lives entirely depend on government support. Even when there’s partial support, someone is not willing to top up to get the assistance they need.
  • Illegal selling of government drugs and extortion of money from patients on free services which is unprofessional.
  • Selling of donated material or property by beneficiaries to the community, this has created big challenges in refugee settlements.

PEAHThank you Ms. Nirere for your insightful answers and highly commendable engagement

PEAH News Flash 377

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

News Flash 377


Live from WHO Headquarters – coronavirus – COVID-19 daily press briefing 08 April 2020 

Trump scapegoating of WHO obscures its key role in tackling pandemic 

Dr. Fauci warned in 2017 of ‘surprise outbreak’ 

WHO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation reports 

All COVID-19 clinical trials at a glance 

Audio Interview: Emerging Tools in the Fight against Covid-19 

BCG Vaccine & Ivermectin – Can Old Solutions Be Repurposed For COVID-19? 

Johns Hopkins Gets FDA OK to Test Blood Therapies for COVID-19 Patients 

How best to prevent and treat COVID-19 in resource-limited settings? We must accelerate research, share knowledge and data, and prioritize access to affordable tools 

Implications of Covid-19 Pandemic on Health Systems by Francisco Becerra-Posada

The Economic Impact of COVID-19 in Asia and the Pacific: A Round-Up of Analysis from the Past Week 

How To Optimize Africa’s Economic Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic 

Emergency financing for Low-Income Economies to tackle COVID-19: Cost estimates for the impact of the crisis and emergency financing requirements

Developing country debt must be cancelled to tackle coronavirus crisis 

WHO estimates global shortfall of 5.9M nurses as world battles COVID-19 

Rich countries ‘raiding’ developing world’s nurses 

The Netherlands Joins COVID-19 IP Pool Initiative; Kentucky Governor Requests 3M Release N95 Patent 

Ban wildlife markets to avert pandemics, says UN biodiversity chief 


The Hardest Hit: Who is Supporting Communities of Color During COVID-19?

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Practice And Policy Considerations For Patients With Opioid Use Disorder 

Refugees face double coronavirus emergency 

Q&A: How to keep children fed and healthy as the pandemic ends school meals 

Open letter asking 37 WTO Members to declare themselves eligible to import medicines manufactured under compulsory license in another country, under 31bis of TRIPS Agreement 

Opinion: International community holds the key to ending cervical cancer 

The One Health Initiative: The Collaboration Between Human and Animal Medicine 

Human Rights Reader 523 

“Regioni e tagli: sulla sanità abbiamo sbagliato anche noi” 

Green Counter-Revolution in Africa? 

Lessons from the Intersection of Coronavirus and Climate Resilience

Asia-Pacific Response to COVID-19 and Climate Emergency Must Build a Resilient and Sustainable Future 










Implications of Covid-19 Pandemic on Health Systems

The situation bound up with Covid-19 will have not only an impact during the current crisis or the near future. Its effect on the future of health systems is something that will need to be followed closely as it may have a negative impact towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 3, with the draining of resources from other sectors to tackle the current pandemic affecting the rest of the SDGs

By Francisco Becerra-Posada MD, MPH, DrPH

Public Health Consultant, Mexico

Implications of Covid-19 Pandemic on Health Systems



Once the Covid-19 epidemic in China started moving to other countries, it was clear that at some point the WHO would declare a pandemic [1] once it had initially been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in January of this year [2]. Given the rapid dispersion and high contagion rate, the world has come to adopt drastic measures as we all have seen globally, cities or country-wide lockdowns, mobilization restrictions, etc.

The amount of all sorts of resources devoted to tackle the pandemic, and the global economic implications of the lockdown and border closing, is unprecedented, with many countries moving fast to authorize specific emergency and budgetary measures to confront the problem, [3],[4] while other have been slow to react. Decisions by governments to prohibit exports of health goods for national consumption, will too, place extra pressure to dependent countries on imports. The pressures of SARS-Cov2 virus on health services and systems is and will continue to be overwhelming. The world has seen patient crowded hospitals, exhausted medical and paramedical staff, and health services devoted to the pandemic.

The risks of all health resources devoted to Covid-19 are necessary, but health services can’t and should not forget about those patients with chronic ailments, such as diabetes, hypertension, HIV, TB, or in need of cancer treatment or that had received a transplant and who are in need of their medication or medical control. Countries and the world are closely following Covid-19 related deaths; however, we don’t know about deaths of other diseases not linked to Covid-19 that due to lack of access to medication or supportive health care are occurring.

Good things also come from these kind of global health events. Science advances faster and international collaboration is enhanced, barriers are down, and a common goal is being sought. Seeking a medical treatment, performing genomic mapping and sharing the SARS-Cov2 genome, working on a vaccine, and developing rapid tests for faster diagnosis and epidemiological control are examples of it.

As the numbers of positive cases increases globally, we can only have a glimpse of the costs and demands to health systems and services the pandemic is causing. From testing, consultations, hospitalizations, patients in ICU and all their needs, etc., plus demand of equipment, personal protection equipment, medications and many other resources that were not budgeted for and are now needed in order of taking care of the demand.

Resilient health systems are important to sustain the strains these situations can bring. If norther countries with good infrastructure and important budget allocated to health are suffering from the over demand, we just can imagine what will this demand cause to low- and middle-income countries’ health systems, systems that might be weaker that those of rich countries, and that may not have enough resources to finance the unexpected demand.

This situation will have not only an impact during the current crisis or the near future. Its effect on the future of health systems is something that will need to be followed closely as it may have a negative impact towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 3, with the draining of resources from other sectors to tackle the current pandemic affecting the rest of the SDGs. Even more, if the global economy will suffer in the years to come as many predict, SDGs will be seriously jeopardized and the people living in a state of vulnerability might be the ones most suffering.

Social determinants will widen and people in those groups might take longer to come back to the level of lives -even difficult ones- they were living before the crisis. Those who survive on a daily income, work as informal vendors, or day to day workers, if cities and countries shut down their income will also shut down. Their livelihood will be affected, as well as the ones of small businesses and starts ups that have been forced to close and nevertheless their expenses still have to be taken care of, such as rent, electricity, etc.

This is the moment countries’ governments have to take and move forward social support to sustain their vulnerable groups, as well as to support the productive sector with financial incentives and emergency measures. How countries cope and invest for their future after Covid-19, will determine the recovering and coming back to what we used to know as “our normal lives”.







PEAH News Flash 376

News Flash Links, as part of the research project PEAH (Policies for Equitable Access to Health), aim to focus on the latest challenges by trade and governments rules to equitable access to health in resource-limited settings

News Flash 376


7 April, day of action for health4all! 

Financial Justice Dialogues – Health and Food (EN) registration Event Timing: April 7, 3PM CET 

Don’t say nobody warned us 

April 1st, 2020: European Commission President Ursula VON DER LEYEN on an initiative to support short-time work to help the Europeans during the Coronavirus crisis 

Coronavirus Proves Need for Free Healthcare for All– Now 


WHO: Covid-19 situation reports 

Africa: Fragile African Health Systems Face COVID-19 Catastrophe 

COVID-19 is Spreading in Africa. How Should Philanthropy Respond? 

Interventions to Curb Covid-19 Spread in a Low-Income Country: Feasibility Challenges by Gertrude Masembe

Plague and Depression in the Just-In-Time World by Ted Schrecker 

The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Developing Countries 

Coronavirus ‘could devastate’ indigenous communities 

‘Don’t forget poor’ in coronavirus vaccine rush 

Ensuring COVID-19 Vaccine Affordability: Existing Mechanisms Should Not Be Overlooked 

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on homelessness 

The dangers of social isolation during a pandemic 

EU scrambles to fund global coronavirus response 

Using Federal Reinsurance To Address The Health Care Financial Consequences Of COVID-19 

Measles and polio may come ‘roaring back’ as global vaccination programmes shut down.Experts warn of a resurgence of childhood diseases as essential services are disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic 

New research tool supports scale-up of digital technologies to End TB 

Japan’s HPV vaccine crisis: act now to avert cervical cancer cases and deaths

Pharmaceutical Business in Somalia by Mohamed Said Alì

 Partnering to promote public health across the Mediterranean 

Why have policy makers failed to reduce health inequalities? 

Transgender health, identity, and dignity 

Human Rights Reader 522 

Air pollution clears in cities globally – new maps 

WHO should declare climate change a public health emergency 

Walking the Talk on Climate Change after the Pandemic: Reorienting State-Owned Enterprises towards Sustainability