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Lessons from Covid-19: Strengthening Health Systems to Prevent the Next Global Health Crisis

UNICEF USA surveyed three experts in global health: Manisha Binge (Managing Director for Global Networks and Partnerships for Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention Institute); Abou Kasoo (Director for Health for UNICEF Global Programs); and Lauren Moore, Vice President for Global Community Impact at Johnson & Johnson. The purpose of the survey was to evaluate the past two years and identify areas for improvement.

How can we stop this pandemic from returning?

ABOU KAMPO UNICEF

UNICEF supports the Covid-19 response. It is essential to create a gender-responsive Covid-19 response. It should be focused on children and their families as well as their local communities.

To adapt to the changing healthcare environment and improve response capability, it is important to have a comprehensive and improved preparedness. This strategy must be inclusive of communities and address ripple effects that could affect families, communities, and societies.

A mother takes her child to San Julian Sonsonate in El Salvador for routine checks. UNICEF’s Latin America program is Care for Child Development.

(c) UNICEF/UN0499578/SEGOVIA PRAD

UNICEF is an international organisation that has a lot of experience and a wealth of knowledge. This contributes to UNICEF’s mandate for the World Health Organisation to provide medical and public health interventions in close collaboration with UNICEF.

Global health architecture cannot be as flexible and strong in the face of pandemics and other disease outbreaks. We must have a collaborative approach to donors, national governments, humanitarian organizations, and other stakeholders.

Countries with high levels are more likely to have greater flexibility when it comes to funding. All countries benefit from the assistance of countries that have the technical, financial, and human resources to help them.

MANISHA BINGE, (RF). Stabilizing routine health services is a sustainable strategy for building a global integrated picture of epidemics and translating that into trusted local communications.

Complexity is a hallmark of the industry of health data. There are many gaps and challenges. This can lead to distrust in public officials working in the area of public health, especially for those living in vulnerable communities.

Backbone investments were made to expand the data inputs’ scope and size, and enable new analysis.

Innovative thinking and bold action are required at this moment. This will enable stakeholders to take the necessary steps to prevent future public-health crises.

What does the Pandemic mean in terms of equitable healthcare access and services during times of public health emergencies,

ABOU KAMPO UNICEF It is in everyone’s best interests and scientifically sound.

We learned from the pandemic that holistic solutions are necessary.

In 2020, more than 23 million children around the world were denied essential vaccines. In an emergency, this is even more important. This will prevent future outbreaks, and help you prepare for the future.

Sustainable development demands investments in health, well-being, and education. Countries that spend less than $150 on their health will not be able to close the immunization gap and reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

While it is important to invest in infrastructures for the health system, we also need to have the political will. We can expect improvement in the accessibility and quality of our health services if primary and public healthcare are prioritized at all levels.

Frontline workers are crucial for strengthening the health system.

LAUREN MOORE J&J. Nurses, midwives and community workers are the most important link between communities and health systems. This has created new and ongoing problems as well as the need to find urgent solutions.

Health workers are needed to empower the masses in order to provide affordable, high-quality healthcare.

J&J’s Centre for Health Worker Innovation works with partners all over the world to address the pre-pandemic shortage in 18 million health professionals, and to provide resources that will allow them to thrive.

Bhavna Devi, an Accredited Healthcare Activist (ASHA), gives advice to Priya Devi (25-years old) on how to care for her baby in Varanasi.

(c) UNICEF/UN0564156/BHARDWAJ

Ministers of health work together with us to integrate community-based health workers into the health system. We also support education in midwifery. The Resilience Collaboration was created to promote learning and encourage the adoption of evidence-based strategies for building resilience for global health workers. Digital technology is used to aid health systems across the globe. We provide support for nurses during times of crisis.

J&J invests in other ways to help transformative ideas. Social entrepreneurs are people who are driven by business and have social impact goals.

What data-driven strategies are possible to combat pandemics, and strengthen the health care system?

MANISHA BINGE (RF). Pandemics have shown the importance of planning ahead.

Our data infrastructure must be improved so we can detect, prevent and characterise any new diseases quickly.

Similar data can be gleaned from frontline health workers, as in the example above. These data are vital for triggering alarms about outbreaks such as SARS or Ebola. These data cannot be automatically collected using smartphones or other participative monitor devices.

Local governments, business leaders, and community leaders are not given the information they need to understand pandemic risk, make quick decisions, allocate resources where it is most needed, and make informed decisions. Ineffective communication and lack of trust in data are two other factors that could complicate the situation.

Now, we are in the third year after the pandemic. The role of digital technology during disasters and in maintaining vital health services is supported by ample evidence.

This is illustrated by the establishment of a national lockdown in response to a pandemic. This allows for quick and targeted responses to disruptions, which reduces vulnerability. It also helps control and spread Covid.

Find out more about these partners

J&J: The Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies has committed 500 millions to quality and culturally competent care since January 2020. These investments were guided from the experiences and perspectives of people who are at the forefront of care: midwives and nurses, community health workers, entrepreneurs and partners, and colleagues working to create models for culturally competent healthcare. This includes socially conscious, business-led innovations with social impact goals. J&J leverages its unique role in global health systems to increase diversity in clinical trials, support culturally-appropriate care models, and create a new generation of doctors and nurses. Through the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures offers funding to social entrepreneurs. Companies with a mission to improve access to high-quality healthcare are eligible for this funding.

Rockefeller Foundation. Rockefeller Foundation, 2021. The Rockefeller Foundation’s efforts in harnessing technology for health led to the establishment of this institute. The Rockefeller Foundation established the Pandemic Prevention Institute in 2021. Its mission is to eradicate health system bottlenecks at the community level.

UNICEF: UNICEF has been responding to the effects of the pandemic since its inception. UNICEF provided vital PPE and medical equipment to children to ensure they had access to essential health care as well as routine vaccinations. UNICEF supports children’s education and ensures that they do not have to stop. UNICEF works with partners to meet the needs of children.

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