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The World Is Still Failing at Pandemic Preparedness and Response

The G20 and international financial institutions still have not created a pandemic preparedness and response framework capable of managing the next global health crisis. Fortunately, some low- and middle-income countries are pioneering new models for filling the gaps.

SHARM EL-SHEIKH – The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the deadliest emergencies in modern history, with an excess global death toll of 14.9 million (and still rising). It has pushed an estimated 100 million people into poverty and set back progress toward the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, not least SDG3: health and well-being for all.

Despite the pandemic’s massive costs, the G20 and international financial institutions still have not created a pandemic preparedness and response (PPR) framework capable of managing the next global health crisis. In many countries, health spending is being slashed (or kept at an insufficient level) as International Monetary Fund-driven austerity comes back into fashion. By next year, 85% of the world’s population will be suffering the effects of reduced investments in public services and public-sector capacity.

Just two and a half years after the start of the pandemic, health is again being framed as a short-term discretionary expenditure, rather than as a long-term investment that is central to economic well-being and resilience. As world leaders have shifted their focus to issues like inflation and food insecurity, they have forgotten that today’s economic and financial crises are byproducts of a global health emergency that has yet to be resolved.

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