JEDDAH: A Saudi health expert on Thursday called for urgent international action to tackle the global fallout from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Dr. Abdulelah Al-Hawsawi, vice president of the Global Sepsis Alliance, spoke as the virtual two-day annual Health20 Summit drew to a close with delegates appealing for the immediate implementation of investment, partnership, and innovation initiatives in health technology.
He said: “Implementation beats oration. We have to act swiftly; we have to act now. I think we have to have the collective wisdom of planet Earth.
“When you think about G20 or G7, it is still pretty much left to the government representatives. I think there is a lot of intelligence and a lot of wisdom in nonstate actors that we should listen to.”
And he highlighted crowdsourcing as one possible way of gathering information, opinions, and expertise from around the world.
Mark Feinberg, the chief executive officer of IAVI, a nonprofit scientific research organization that develops vaccines and antibodies, warned that the world would fail to deal with another pandemic if countries, companies, and relevant bodies were unable to work together.
We have to act swiftly; we have to act now. I think we have to have the collective wisdom of planet Earth.
Dr. Abdulelah Al-Hawsawi, vice president of the Global Sepsis Alliance
Commonwealth secretary-general, Patricia Scotland, pointed out that the global health crisis was far from over.
“While we are all in the same storm, we are not in the same boat. Until we are all safe, no one is safe,” she said.
The baroness added that the Commonwealth did not have the resources of the state, but the nations of the G20 did. “We are working with the G20 and UN to help everyone.”
Greg Perry, assistant director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, noted that 300 partnerships had been created since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic but said structures needed to be established to enable more public and private sector partnerships and investment projects to take place.
Dr. Hayat Sindi, senior adviser to the president of the Islamic Development Bank, said the bank had set up a blockchain platform enabling $2.3 billion to be allocated to more than 30 member countries to cover urgent needs during the COVID-19 outbreak while also helping small and medium-sized enterprises, and trade.
The IsDB is a multilateral development bank that promotes comprehensive development among its 57 member states and Muslim communities in nonmember states.
Dr. Peter Singer, special adviser to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, said: “Equity. Equity. Equity. The only way to solve the economic crisis is to solve the health crisis.”
Addressing the summit, Andreano Erwin, the Indonesian Health Ministry’s director of international cooperation, said healthy people and healthy economies were inextricably linked.
He added that tackling diseases was not a cost but an investment and noted that investments needed to be quantitatively measured alongside national objectives.
And Jamie Bay Nishi, director of the Global Health Technologies Coalition, also called for more investment to deal with the COVID-19 crisis and any future pandemics. “Those investments will be a drop in the bucket and worth it for future crises.”