Health

Dr Stuart Minchin, Director-General of SPC: With the crisis, we’re learning new ways of working


 

A conversation with SPC's Director-General on how the Pacific Community (SPC) helps Pacific countries respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Without Universal Health Coverage We Are Sitting Ducks When the next Pandemic Strikes

We live in a different world to the one we inhabited six short months ago. With more than 4 million people infected and over 280,000 dead globally by mid May 2020, Covid-19 has ruthlessly exposed the vulnerability of a globalised world to pandemic disease. People are slowly coming to terms with the frightening and heartbreaking death toll, and we are still not out of the danger.

Could BCG, a 100-year-old Vaccine for Tuberculosis, Protect Against Coronavirus?

This week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced it will donate A$10 million to help fund an Australian trial testing whether a very old vaccine, BCG, can be used against a new threat, COVID-19. So what is the BCG vaccine and what might its place be in the fight against coronavirus?

The Commonwealth’s Response to COVID-19

The Coronovirus pandemic has been an unforgiving test of advanced economies. Health systems in the United States, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK have been put under immense pressure, with shortages of doctors, ventilators, personal protective equipment and the capacity to test for the virus. Their economies have been battered and the consequences are spoken of in terms of the Great Depression.

We Cannot Let the Education Gap Widen at the Start of the Decade of Action

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we estimated that 75 million children and youth - of whom 39 million are girls - were not able to access a quality education in countries impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement, natural disasters and climate change-induced emergencies. The impact of COVID-19 has both globally and exponentially deepened the already existing critical education crisis.

Healthy Oceans: Keeping Asia and the Pacific Afloat

Memories of idyllic beaches and sonorous waves may seem far away while we remain at home. Yet, we need not look far to appreciate the enduring history of the ocean in Asia and the Pacific. For generations, the region has thrived on our seas. Our namesake bears a nod to the Pacific Ocean, a body of water tethered to the well-being of billions in our region. The seas provide food, livelihoods and a sense of identity, especially for coastal communities in the Pacific island States.

Why Some National Health Care Systems Do Better than Others

In public health discussions, it is generally recognized that the social returns to health care investments are greater than the private returns, and much of such investments should be financed by the state.

Protecting Women’s Reproductive Health During the Pandemic

“When I was 13… I got pregnant from my older brother… He raped me starting when I was 11,” a girl from Guatemala told one of us in 2015. She was one of the 2 million girls under 15 worldwide who give birth each year, often due to sexual violence.

COVID-19: Why We Must Reset Our Thinking

Covid-19 is the most significant event since the Second World War. It changes everything. It brings great sadness to many of us as we lose loved ones, as we see people losing their jobs, and as we see people around the world suffering immensely.

Finding Money for Public Health, Green Economic Recovery & SDGs

The coronavirus pandemic underscores the profound fragility and unsustainability of today’s world. It exposes the chronic underinvestment in human health and well-being and the consequences of a relentless exploitation of biodiversity and the natural environment.

‘Passing the Buck’ Becomes Reckless ‘Conspiracy Blame Game’

Although Wuhan local authorities undoubtedly ostracized local medical whistle-blowers, notably Dr Li Wenliang, who suspected a new virus was responsible for flu-like infections in Wuhan in late 2019, official responses were apparently not delayed, and possibly even expedited, as the novel character of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for Covid-19 infections, was not immediately self-evident.

COVID-19 and the assault on fundamental rights

A spectre is haunting the conscientious citizens of Bangladesh—the spectre of the Digital Security Act, 2018 (DSA). By now the law has become synonymous with curtailment of freedom of expression and repression. The recent developments of involuntary disappearance, re-appearance and subsequent detention of several commentators and social activists have raised the alarm if indeed we as a nation are shying away from upholding one of the cardinal principles of the Muktijuddher Chetona (the spirit of the Liberation War) to freely express our views.

Africa’s Health Dilemma: Protecting People from COVID-19 While Four Times as Many Could Die of Malaria

Experts across Africa are warning that as hospitals and health facilities focus on COVID-19, less attention is being given to the management of other deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which affect millions more people.

NGOs – with Local Groups in the Lead – are on COVID-19 Frontlines

NGOs, at the international, national - and most of all local - level are on the frontlines every day. I just heard from Oxfam staff in Bangladesh, that when asked whether they were scared to continue our response with the Rohingya communities in Cox’s Bazar, they replied: “They are now my relatives. I care about them — and this is the time they need us most.’”

VE Day Marks the End of the Second World War-But the World is Still at War

The world commemorated the 75th Anniversary to mark the end of the 2nd World War also called VE Day on 08 May 2020. With her nation, and much of the world still in lockdown due to COVID 19, England’s Queen marked 75 years since the allied victory in Europe with a poignant televised address. From Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth said, “the wartime generation knew that the best way to honour those who did not come back from the war, was to ensure that it didn’t happen again”.

Women Taking Charge during COVID-19

As the COVID-19 mayhem carries on in most countries, the role of mothers, daughters, and female caregivers have been affected the most. Besides looking after the household and home schooling children, they are also working on the front lines, actively or passively caring for their respective communities.

The Role of Civil Society in Times of Crisis

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown us something that most of us haven’t seen in our lifetimes: Large numbers of people unable to have two meals a day. 

Religion & its Discontents: Considerations Around COVID-19 & Africa

COVID-19 has spread to many nations around the world, and has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. In the global south, the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched the available medical and health resources, triggered economic shocks, and caused social upheavals and insecurity in many countries and localities.

Black Americans are Bearing the Brunt of Coronavirus Recession – This Should Come as no Surprise

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsened in April, many Americans were shocked by the extent that black Americans were being disproportionately impacted: higher infection rates, more deaths and greater job loss. But many black Americans were not surprised.

COVID-19 & Human Health Risks Linked to Wildlife Trade Practices

At the time of writing, the COVID-19 pandemic is raging worldwide, causing human mortality and socio-economic disruption on a massive scale and it appears highly likely that profound impacts will continue for many years to come.

Time for the World Bank and IMF to Be the Solution, Not the Problem

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have a historic opportunity to help stabilize a world reeling from COVID-19. Doing so will require the institutions to change course and aggressively support poor countries’ ability to invest broadly in the government services their populations need.

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