After three years of a global pandemic and over 6.68 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide (as of 10th January 2023), the global health agenda has become an increasing priority in the G7 dialogue. The C7 Global Health Working Group will promote measures that put human rights, gender equality, equity, global solidarity and responsibility of the Global North at the core of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, with the needs of key populations in it’s centre.
To address inequalities in access to COVID-19 and other health services, health and community systems must be strengthened locally and at the national, regional and global level. The efforts on R&D, equitable access to medical countermeasures, as well as preventive approaches should be strengthened to face all health challenges including such as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). To leave no one behind, it is essential to ensure universal health coverage (UHC) and universal access to COVID-19 tools. This must be delivered while addressing long-standing global health challenges of today in order to ward off the pandemics of tomorrow. The gap between what was promised to the Global South and what was ultimately implemented by rich countries is appalling. It has to be closed, for example by helping to remove intellectual property barriers and encouraging the sharing of COVID-19 health technologies.
In the era of pandemic, resilience in health should be more comprehensively addressed, including non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mental health, aging and dementia. Given that biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and climate change have been affecting people’s health, we need to focus more on the One Health approach in order to guarantee planetary health.
At the same time, existing pandemics and health issues, such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and programmes targeting the needs of vulnerable populations, as well as the serious impacts of ongoing wars on people’s health and the situation of people on the move must not be forgotten. The right to health,, with more comprehensive consideration on the social determinants, including access to water, sanitation and nutrition. International cooperation on these agendas must be fostered and adequately financed. World leaders, reunited in the G7 this year, have the obligation and opportunity to progress towards the long promised delivery of health for all.
- Masaki Inaba (Africa Japan Forum, AJF)
- Stefania Burbo (Global Health Italian Network)