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Global Health ; 17(1): 59, 2021 05 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1238728


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic is adversely impacting modern human civilization. A global view using a systems science approach is necessary to recognize the close interactions between health of animals, humans and the environment. DISCUSSION: A model is developed initially by describing five sequential or parallel steps on how a RNA virus emerged from animals and became a pandemic: 1. Origins in the animal kingdom; 2. Transmission to domesticated animals; 3. Inter-species transmission to humans; 4. Local epidemics; 5. Global spread towards a pandemic. The next stage identifies global level determinants from the physical environments, the biosphere and social environment that influence these steps to derive a generic conceptual model. It identifies that future pandemics are likely to emerge from ecological processes (climate change, loss of biodiversity), anthropogenic social processes (i.e. corporate interests, culture and globalization) and world population growth. Intervention would therefore require modifications or dampening these generators and prevent future periodic pandemics that would reverse human development. Addressing issues such as poorly planned urbanization, climate change and deforestation coincide with SDGs such as sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11), climate action (Goal 13) and preserving forests and other ecosystems (Goal 15). This will be an added justification to address them as global priorities. Some determinants in the model are poorly addressed by SDGs such as the case of population pressures, cultural factors, corporate interests and globalization. The overarching process of globalization will require modifications to the structures, processes and mechanisms of global governance. The defects in global governance are arguably due to historical reasons and the neo-liberal capitalist order. This became evident especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 when the vaccination roll-out led to violations of universal values of equity and right to life by some of the powerful and affluent nations. A systems approach leads us to a model that shows the need to tackle several factors, some of which are not adequately addressed by SDGs and require restructuring of global governance and political economy.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Global Health/trends , Systems Analysis , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Sustainable Development/trends