Health for All
Barcelona Institute of Global Health
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)
New Delhi, India
The SDSN Health for All network saw a dramatic uptick in activity in early 2020, as the network leveraged its global expertise to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This unprecedented health challenge has sickened millions and resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths globally. It has rapidly redefined the ways we live and work, and its consequences will be felt for years to come.
The network’s main contribution has been the organization of a series of webinars to examine the implications of the pandemic for public health and the SDGs, to present science-based recommendations for how to contain the spread of the virus, and to discuss options for mitigating the pandemic’s accompanying economic downturn. The first webinar featured 13 experts and stressed the utility of mitigation measures such as social distancing to slow the spread of the virus; the critical importance of adequate equipment, such as ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) to treat patients and protect frontline responders; and the need for financial support for health systems, workers, and overall economic recovery. Key interventions were made on the topic of the particular vulnerability of homeless and refugee populations and on the comparative advantages of different vaccine types.
The second webinar featured 15 speakers who discussed successful public health interventions, how to ensure policy responses promote health equity and reduce inequality, and different scenarios for ending confinement measures and returning to normal. Specific presentations looked at the need for good governance and leadership to support a successful response and recovery, the importance of social protection in ensuring COVID-19 responses leave no one behind, and macroeconomic policies to mitigate economic impacts, and the need for recovery efforts to be “green.”
SDSN Health for All continues to scale up its work on COVID-19, particularly in partnership with SDSN Amazonia, to address disparities in health outcomes among indigenous communities in the region. A number of resources will be developed to help governments craft science-based responses, to help communities and civil society organizations advocate for the social protections they need in these difficult times, and to support a lasting and transformative recovery.