GENEVA: In the wake of the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic that affected the world this year, global health agency the World Health Organisation (WHO) has prepared a list of major global health issues that need to be monitored next year (2021).
The global health agency, which is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation across the world, especially in the context of new COVID-19 strain found in several countries, is deeply worried that the pandemic can negate the global health progress that has been made over the past 20 years.
The WHO has warned that world countries will have to devote a lot of resources and energy to repair and strengthening the healthcare systems while also fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Speed up public access to COVID-19 vaccines
As a top priority, the WHO would ensure that all the countries have easy access to effective and safe tests, vaccines as well as medicines to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Providing these tools to the countries that need them would be important in ending the acute phase that the pandemic is in currently, the agency said. While several effective tools are in the pipeline right now, the agency said that the immediate challenge before it was to arrange for the remaining funds to help countries access these resources.
The world health agency has said that it will work with countries to improve their own preparedness for pandemics and health emergencies. “But for this to be effective, we will ensure that countries work together. Above all, this pandemic has shown us over and again, that no one is safe until everyone is safe. We will also help tackle health emergencies in humanitarian settings that have been intensified by COVID-19. We will target support to better protect the most vulnerable communities against health emergency risks, including in urban areas,’’ the WHO said.
COVID-19 has shown the world what happens when the healthcare systems are ignored, the agency said, asserting that next year, WHO would work closely with its partners to ensure a strengthened healthcare system in all the countries, which would lead to a more effective response to the pandemic. Moreover, the aim is also to build a healthcare system in all countries which would provide all the essential health services to every citizen close to their homes while ensuring that they don’t fall into poverty.
Tackling health inequities
Currently, there is a glaring disparity in healthcare access between and within countries. To tackle that, the WHO has decided that in 2021, it would use its database and advance the universal health coverage initiative. Moreover, its work with countries to monitor as well as address issues like differences in healthcare access on the basis of gender, ethnicity, income, education, occupation, etc, would continue, the agency asserted.
According to the latest estimates of WHO, non-communicable diseases led to seven of the top 10 causes of death last year. The importance of proper screening, as well as treatment for non-communicable diseases like heart diseases, cancer and diabetes, was further highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic, when patients suffering from these conditions became more vulnerable during the pandemic. Working in this regard would be a major focus for the agency next year, WHO said.
Provide global leadership on science and data
WHO will monitor and evaluate the latest scientific developments around COVID-19 and beyond, identifying opportunities to harness those advances to improve global health. We will uphold and strengthen the excellence, relevance and efficacy of our own core technical functions, to provide the world with the best evidence-based recommendations for public health on issues ranging from Alzheimers to Zika.