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COVID-19 and Healthcare Transformation

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the defining events of the 21st century: world economies have been reshaped and people's lives and work have been transformed. Even two years after the outbreak, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in his address to the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA), still stressed that countries affected by the virus must be swiftly aided. Indeed, this has become one of the most pressing issues dominating the discussion at the UNGA. Through various sessions with experts, policymakers, and business representatives, plans to combat the next health crisis were discussed.


Several panels cited that when the pandemic hit, the region that was hit hardest was Africa. The continent lacked access to an accessible and quality medical system. Everything must be imported—from medicine, to equipment, and even doctors (many African countries rely on volunteer medical personnels from abroad). The top recommendation is to create a self-reliant healthcare system not only limited to Africa but also worldwide. Countries need robust, reliable pharmaceutical production facilities, a network to ensure efficient medical delivery, and a quality hospital ready to treat illnesses and promote healthy activities.

Establishing a properly regulated and sustainable market for medical and health goods is an opportunity to strengthen economic growth and improve health outcomes. Governments, apart from making direct investments in building state hospitals and medical factories and training doctors, can rally the private sector to act with schemes such as tax rebates and loans. Businesses, in turn, can expand to these previously untapped regions and invest in healthcare infrastructure, production, and provision. They will help the people and create more sustainable areas in once underdeveloped regions, spurring economic activities via strengthening communities. This will come back to benefit companies in the long run, and all of these begin with public-private cooperation.


One of the reasons the coronavirus spread quickly in 2020 was because of healthcare inequality. When the rich and the poor receive starkly different treatment standards, the pandemic spread swiftly in the lower-income demographics and eventually returned to infect the rich. The better way to tackle this is to present all with access to the same standard of healthcare.

Some of the UN’s recommendations are that government must subsidize the cost of healthcare and pharmaceutical products, thus keeping medical costs in check to let people access quality care. Besides, technology companies can play their part by increasing the adoption of platforms for telemedicine—through which patients get diagnosed over video calls, phone calls, etc. This saves precious screening time at the hospitals—reducing congestion—and allows healthcare hyper-personalization: records could be quickly pulled up to analyze treatment. Besides, if the next pandemic arose, the doctor-patient relationship would allow early spotting of warning signs.

The medical transformation has been debated for decades, but everyone should get their wake-up call with the last pandemic. For the government, effective policies and preventive countermeasures can reduce public health insecurity. On the other hand, for the private sector, now is the time to take actions that ensure medical accessibility. When all can benefit from healthcare, all is strengthened, and so do businesses. This is how society moves from Good to GREAT; for a healthy community is a GREAT society.

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