As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc in the world, killing hundreds of thousands in India while triggering fears about another lockdown in Perth, it’s becoming evident that a coordinated global response to future health crises will be paramount.
And we should expect that the global bodies that take up the task are capable of handling the challenge. The South-East Asia Director of the World Health Organization recently wrote about the need to build a healthier world as the global economy recovers from Covid-19.
She rightly pointed out that socioeconomic, political and geographic factors have contributed to the pandemic’s impact and spread, and that the poor in the Asia-Pacific have borne a disproportionate share of its brunt.
However, in calling for national governments to reorient their fiscal strategies to uphold important public health priorities, the WHO needs to take its own advice.
Much like Covid-19 and its lockdowns have damaged the revenue takings of national governments, the WHO faces its own funding woes. Barely half of its 2020-21 budget was funded despite the ongoing stress of its global pandemic response. To its credit, it spent $804.5 million on tackling communicable diseases and health emergencies that demand international coordination, such as Ebola, in 2018-19.
Satyajeet Marar – Spectator Australia – 2021-05-03.