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Global Health ; 19(1): 15, 2023 03 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2263080


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 outbreak has shifted the course in the global health debate further towards health security and biomedical issues. Even though global health had already played a growing role in the international policy agenda, the pandemic strongly reinforced the interest of the media, the general public and the community in cross-border infectious diseases. This led to a strengthening of the already dominant biomedical understanding of global health and the securitization of health in foreign policy. METHODS: This paper critically provides a narrative, iterative review of the health security literature available to date, with a special focus on the development of the currently prevailing concept of health security and the dual trend towards the securitization and biomedicalization of global health. FINDINGS: In a world increasingly determined by power asymmetries, unequal distribution of opportunities and resources, and inadequate governance structures, securitizing health has become a key feature of global governance. Health security is predominantly based on a concept that neglects the global burden of disease determined by non-communicable conditions rather than by infectious diseases. Moreover, it exhibits a trend towards biomedical solutions and neglects root causes of global health crises. CONCLUSIONS: As important as health security is, the underlying concept driven by biomedical and technocratic reductionism falls short. It widely neglects the social, economic, political, commercial and environmental determination of health. Beyond improved health care and prevention, health-in-all policies are ultimately required for ensuring health security and reducing one of its main challenges, health inequalities within and between countries. Global health security must first and foremost seek to guarantee the universal right to health and therefore emphasise the social, economic, commercial and political determination of health.

COVID-19 , Humans , Global Health , Disease Outbreaks , Health Facilities , Public Policy
BMJ Glob Health ; 6(10)2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1449866

Syndemic , Guinea , Humans
Global Health ; 18(1): 10, 2022 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1736427


BACKGROUND: The pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a timely reminder of the nature and impact of Public Health Emergencies of International Concern. As of 12 January 2022, there were over 314 million cases and over 5.5 million deaths notified since the start of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic takes variable shapes and forms, in terms of cases and deaths, in different regions and countries of the world. The objective of this study is to analyse the variable expression of COVID-19 pandemic so that lessons can be learned towards an effective public health emergency response. METHODS: We conducted a mixed-methods study to understand the heterogeneity of cases and deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Correlation analysis and scatter plot were employed for the quantitative data. We used Spearman's correlation analysis to determine relationship strength between cases and deaths and socio-economic and health systems. We organized qualitative information from the literature and conducted a thematic analysis to recognize patterns of cases and deaths and explain the findings from the quantitative data. RESULTS: We have found that regions and countries with high human development index have higher cases and deaths per million population due to COVID-19. This is due to international connectedness and mobility of their population related to trade and tourism, and their vulnerability related to older populations and higher rates of non-communicable diseases. We have also identified that the burden of the pandemic is also variable among high- and middle-income countries due to differences in the governance of the pandemic, fragmentation of health systems, and socio-economic inequities. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that every country remains vulnerable to public health emergencies. The aspiration towards a healthier and safer society requires that countries develop and implement a coherent and context-specific national strategy, improve governance of public health emergencies, build the capacity of their (public) health systems, minimize fragmentation, and tackle upstream structural issues, including socio-economic inequities. This is possible through a primary health care approach, which ensures provision of universal and equitable promotive, preventive and curative services, through whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Emergencies , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
Expert Rev Vaccines ; 21(1): 25-36, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1510818


INTRODUCTION: The global COVID-19 vaccine rollout has highlighted inequities in the accessibility of countries to COVID-19 vaccines. Populations in low- and middle-income countries have found it difficult to have access to COVID-19 vaccines. AREAS COVERED: This perspective provides analyses on historical and contemporary policy trends of vaccine development and immunization programs, including the current COVID-19 vaccination drive, and governance challenges. Moreover, we also provide a comparative health system analysis of the COVID-19 vaccine deployment in some countries from different continents. It recommends that the international Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) partnership requires a strong governance mechanism and urgent financial investment. EXPERT OPINION: All WHO member states should agree on technology transfer and voluntary license-sharing via a commonly governed technology access pool and supported by a just Intellectual Property regime. Contextualized, dynamic understandings and country-specific versions of health systems strengthening are needed to improve vaccine equity in a sustainable matter.

COVID-19 Vaccines , Healthcare Disparities , COVID-19 , Delivery of Health Care , Health Policy , Humans
BMJ Glob Health ; 6(4)2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1180958
Med Hypotheses ; 146: 110431, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-969787


The variation in the speed and intensity of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and severity of the resulting COVID-19 disease are still imperfectly understood. We postulate a dose-response relationship in COVID-19, and that "the dose of virus in the initial inoculum" is an important missing link in understanding several incompletely explained observations in COVID-19 as a factor in transmission dynamics and severity of disease. We hypothesize that: (1) Viral dose in inoculum is related to severity of disease, (2) Severity of disease is related to transmission potential, and (3) In certain contexts, chains of severe cases can build up to severe local outbreaks, and large-scale intensive epidemics. Considerable evidence from other infectious diseases substantiates this hypothesis and recent evidence from COVID-19 points in the same direction. We suggest research avenues to validate the hypothesis. If proven, our hypothesis could strengthen the scientific basis for deciding priority containment measures in various contexts in particular the importance of avoiding super-spreading events and the benefits of mass masking.

COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Models, Biological , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Load/physiology , Adaptive Immunity , COVID-19/immunology , Host Microbial Interactions/immunology , Host Microbial Interactions/physiology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Severity of Illness Index
Medicine and Law ; 39(2):249-267, 2020.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-838920


Whereas the heart of the purpose and activity of the European Union is concerned with economic harmonisation, its internal market, and the freedom of movement of people, goods, services, and capital, necessarily require public health measures. The EU is committed to both human rights and to "Health in All Policies". This paper considers how that agenda has been confronted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It considers how the EU Treaties limit the possible scope of that response. The paper considers responses in relation to freedom of movement, the work of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, issues relating to the operation of the General Data Protection Regulation, and the Clinical Trials Directive and Medical Devices Directive. It concludes with a brief examination of the economic responses of the EU to the COVID-19 pandemic. An Appendix gives a brief introduction to EU (health) law and history.

BMJ Glob Health ; 5(7)2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-689115


It is very exceptional that a new disease becomes a true pandemic. Since its emergence in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, has spread to nearly all countries of the world in only a few months. However, in different countries, the COVID-19 epidemic takes variable shapes and forms in how it affects communities. Until now, the insights gained on COVID-19 have been largely dominated by the COVID-19 epidemics and the lockdowns in China, Europe and the USA. But this variety of global trajectories is little described, analysed or understood. In only a few months, an enormous amount of scientific evidence on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 has been uncovered (knowns). But important knowledge gaps remain (unknowns). Learning from the variety of ways the COVID-19 epidemic is unfolding across the globe can potentially contribute to solving the COVID-19 puzzle. This paper tries to make sense of this variability-by exploring the important role that context plays in these different COVID-19 epidemics; by comparing COVID-19 epidemics with other respiratory diseases, including other coronaviruses that circulate continuously; and by highlighting the critical unknowns and uncertainties that remain. These unknowns and uncertainties require a deeper understanding of the variable trajectories of COVID-19. Unravelling them will be important for discerning potential future scenarios, such as the first wave in virgin territories still untouched by COVID-19 and for future waves elsewhere.

Coronavirus Infections , Global Health , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , China/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Europe/epidemiology , Humans , Infection Control , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Influenza Pandemic, 1918-1919 , Influenza, Human , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology