Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO), on Thursday recommended national unity and global solidarity as antidote to defeat COVID-19 pandemic.
Ghebreyesus said at the agency’s official twitter account @WHO that, the pandemic had highlighted the importance of strong national and sub-national health systems as the foundation of global health security and universal health coverage.
“Strong and resilient health systems are the best defence not only against outbreaks and pandemics, but also against the multiple health threats that people around the world face every day.
“And yet, on current trends, more than five billion people will lack access to essential health services by 2030 – including the ability to see a health worker, access to essential medicines, and running water in hospitals.
“Gaps like these do not just undermine the health of individuals, families and communities; they also put global security and economic development at risk.
“The world spends around 7.5 trillion dollars on health each year – almost 10 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“But the best investments are in promoting health and preventing disease at the primary health care level, which will save lives and save money.
“Prevention is not only better than cure, it’s cheaper, and the smartest thing to do,’’ he said.
The director general said the COVID-19 pandemic would eventually recede, but there can be no going back to business as usual.
“We cannot continue to rush to fund panic but let preparedness go by the wayside.
“As we work on responding to this pandemic, we must also work harder to prepare for the next one.
“Now is an opportunity to lay the foundations for resilient health systems around the world, which has been ignored for too long.
“That includes systems to prepare, prevent and respond to emerging pathogens.
“If we learn anything from COVID-19, it must be that investing in health now will save lives later,’’ he said.
Ghebreyesus said history would judge all of us not only on whether we got through this pandemic, but also on the lessons we learned and the actions we took once it was over.
“I will repeat something again that the antidote for this pandemic is national unity and global solidarity. Together, we will defeat COVID-19,’’ he said.