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Special Edition Magazine, Spring 2021: Back to Health: Making Up for Lost Time

A Health New Deal

The post-pandemic rebuilding period must feature ambitious investments in the physical, organizational, and social infrastructure needed to ensure universal health coverage. Governments have a historic opportunity to place health at the center of all policymaking, where it belongs.

LONDON – Nearly everyone agrees that the COVID-19 crisis offers an opportunity to build back better and fairer. Most national strategies already feature recommendations for more hospitals, health laboratories, nurses, and more public financing to pay for it all.

These efforts are laudable, but inadequate. What the world really needs is an exponentially more ambitious “Health New Deal” to protect human health and achieve the World Health Organization’s Triple Billion targets of universal health coverage, protection from health emergencies, and better health and well-being.

In conceptualizing a Health New Deal as a foundation for human and economic development in the coming decades, we can draw inspiration from the infrastructure that still endures from previous crises. For example, the British National Health Service, launched three years after the end of World War II, has become so embedded in the national psyche that it featured in the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

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