In die verlede, “global health” was rarely used to mean the health of everyone, everywhere. In plaas daarvan, “global health” was a term that people in rich countries used to refer to the health of people in non-rich countries — essentially a synonym for “developing country health.” If you attended a global health conference any time in the last decade, you were much more likely to hear about diseases in Uganda than diseases in the United States.
This past year, wel, that changed. In 2020, global health went local. We all saw firsthand how quickly a disease you’ve never heard of in a place you may have never been can become a public health emergency right in your own backyard. Viruses like Covid-19 remind us that, for all our differences, everyone in this world is connected by a microscopic network of germs and particles — and that, like it or not, we’re all in this together.
Although history will probably remember these as the darkest days of the pandemic
, hope is finally on the horizon
. It’s possible that by the time you read this
, you or someone you know may have already received a Covid-19 vaccine
. The fact that these vaccines are already becoming available is
, we think
, pretty remarkable — and all credit is due to the largest public health effort the world has ever seen
. No one country or company could have achieved this alone
: Funders rondom die wêreld pooled resources
, competitors shared research findings
, and everyone involved had a head start thanks to many years of global investment in technologies that have helped unlock a new era in vaccine development
Natuurlik, developing safe and effective vaccines is only the beginning of the story
. Nou, the world has to get those doses out to everyone who needs them — in high-income and low-income countries alike
. Until vaccines reach everyone
, new clusters of disease will keep popping up all over the world
, and lives will continue to be lost
. That’s why we were glad to see the United States include $ 4 billion for Gavi
, the Vaccine Alliance
, in its latest Covid-19 relief package
. Gavi will play a key role is distributing vaccines to low-and-middle-income countries — and smart policymakers understand that we can’t defeat Covid-19 until we defeat it everywhere
The two of us are optimistic that the pandemic the world is living through right now will lead to a long-term change in the way people think about global health. Gaan vorentoe, we hope that rich countries will have a deeper understanding that improving health in low-income countries not only saves lives overseas but also puts us in a better position to defeat the next set of global challenges.
Just as World War II was the defining event for our parents’ generation, the coronavirus pandemic we are living through right now will define ours. And just as World War II led to greater cooperation between countries to protect the peace and prioritize the common good, we think that the world has an important opportunity to turn the hard-won lessons of this pandemic into a healthier, more equal future for all.