Bill Gates advocates for Global Health Equity through his new book How to Prevent the Next Pandemic. Global health equity is something everyone desires, though not everyone can achieve it.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), equity is the absence of unfair, avoidable, or remediable differences among people. Whether those groups are defined: socially, economically, demographically, geographically, or by other dimensions of inequality, sex, gender, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation. Health is a fundamental human right. Everyone can attain their full potential for health and well-being when they have health equity.
This month Bill Gates published his new book, How to Prevent the Next Pandemic. According to Gargee Ghosh, President of Global Policy at the Gates Foundation, after years of thinking, consulting with experts, and analyzing lessons learned from COVID-19, Bill Gates took the knowledge he accumulated and put it in a digestible format bringing awareness and information to the masses. Questions such as: how do we stop this next pandemic, what the world must do to better the next time a novel virus makes its way into our populations, what we need to change as a society, and figuring out the logistics of how to bring equal access to health care to everyone. are answered in his new book. Bill and Melinda gates foundation sees his new book, How to Prevent the Next Pandemic, as an extension of the work they have achieved in the past 20 years.
According to Ghosh, health equity is vital to preventing the next pandemic. New systems and tools help address diseases already affecting lower-income countries. We can combat future novel viruses using knowledge and tools developed for past and current issues, preparedness for pandemics, and health equity work hand in hand in ensuring the health and safety of everyone.
According to Ghosh, another area where health equity and pandemic preparedness overlap is the primary health care system: The facilities that treat patients, the healthcare workers who staff those facilities, and the vaccines and medicines on the shelves. When people see that their community clinics are staffed and stocked, they’re more likely to trust the system in scary times. For instance, by agreeing to be vaccinated against novel viruses like COVID-19.
According to the Gates Foundation, the world has a set of organizations, such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Financing Facility; and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Between billions of doses of drugs, vaccines and building supply chains, training, and equipping health workers with the tools needed to deal with pandemics and other diseases, we can secure global health equity in the worst of times, even in low-income nations.
Global health equity is necessary if we ever want to stop the spread of dangerous novel viruses like COVID-19, but getting there is a challenge that nations worldwide will have to solve.
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