The CEO of the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated today that in recent years many countries have made enormous advances in medicine, but that too many have neglected their basic public health systems, which are key to responding to infectious disease outbreaks.
For that reason and during his weekly press conference on the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus encouraged countries on Monday continue to invest in public health and primary care while fighting COVID-19.
The head of the Organization recalled that health is a need and a human good and not a luxury item for those who can afford it.
“Public health is the basis of social, economic and political stability. That means invest in population-oriented services to prevent, detect and respond to disease”, He highlighted.
Dr. Tedros warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is not going to be the last that humanity will suffer and that the world has to be more prepared for when the next. One of the many examples cited globally was the case of Uruguay.
“Although America has been the most affected region, Uruguay has reported the lowest number of cases and deaths in Latin America, both in total and per inhabitant.
This is not an accident. Uruguay has one of the strongest and most resilient health systems in Latin America, with permanent investment based on political consensus on the importance of investing in public health”, He stressed.
Similarly, he applauded the announcement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that her government will invest 4 billion euros to strengthen Germany’s public health system until 2026.
Confusion with health messages
Faced with the possibility that in certain countries the public may feel confused by public health messages, stop trusting their recommendations or they may be politicized, Dr. Michael Ryan, the Organization’s Director of Emergencies, said that governments listen to the science, but they also have to implement measures and that sometimes there is a gap between science and the policies that work.
“And that is where a government has to act and be held accountable for translating science into an effective and affordable policy that allows a society to move forward with confidence. That the government is doing the best in the interest of the people”, He reasoned.
Delving into the subject and when asked by a journalist about what happens when governments send controversial messages to the population, as in the case of Brazil where its inhabitants were confined but the president of the nation was seen many times outdoors, Ryan indicated that both Brazilian citizens and those of many other countries they can go to multiple sources of information.
The WHO expert noted that governments build trust in communities by providing only information based on verified evidence.
“People are smart and realistic and they don’t look for magical answers or unicorns. They understand that we all live in the real world and that trying to present simplified, simplistic solutions is not a winning strategy in the long term with populations ”, he highlighted.