Bulletin #6: Diagnosing the weak spots of the pandemic response

This fortnight

Inequities persist in the global pandemic response as rich countries continue to prefer nationalism over solidarity. Testing for Covid-19 staggers in low and middle income countries, in great measure because of issues with procurement and distribution, coordinated by the ACT-A diagnostics pillar. Underfunded and perceived to be less interesting than the vaccines pillar by donors, ACT-A diagnostics struggles to scale up its work. We bring an analysis of global governance of diagnostics.

In Africa, the limited availability of vaccines and tests is additionally complicated by recent actions by credit-rating agencies. The agencies are bullying countries that have decided to increase expenditure to mount a better pandemic response by downgrading their ratings. You can read more about the consequences of this in one of our reports.

Governments in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe have taken steps to limit the right to strike of health workers under the pretext of protecting people’s right to health. In spite of the limitations, health workers in all three countries have not given up on fighting together for fairer health systems: find out more in one of our articles.

In Ireland, health workers and social movements have come together to campaign for a unified and universal public health system that would provide health care to all people, on both sides of the border. In this issue, we bring more about their recent actions.

In the second part of the conversation we shared in our last issue, Prof Christophe Z Guilmoto and Indranil Mukhopadhyay discuss the scale of the under-reporting of Covid-19 deaths in India, reflecting on possible ways to avoid it in the future.

Finally, in our Data Speaks section, this time we bring a graphic comparison between the number of Covid-19 related deaths in Africa and in Europe.

Inequity in COVID-19 testing has far reaching consequences for poor countries

Testing is crucial to combat the pandemic. But with all the funds and attention going towards vaccines, diagnostics is suffering, impeding key steps to curb the spread of the virus

Less than 2% vaccinated even as COVID-19 cases cross 7.1 million in Africa

Despite the recently increased supply, the continent suffers a severe shortage of vaccines due to stockpiling by wealthier countries and the credit rating agencies’ practice of disproportionately downgrading developing countries during the pandemic

Health workers’ right to strike under threat

Some governments have taken the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to limit people’s rights, including workers’ right to organize. Across the world, health workers who have organized strikes and other actions have faced repression and threats

A health system for all of Ireland

People all over Ireland continue to campaign for changes in the health system that would allow universal access on the whole island, independently of borders.

Video interview: Counting the uncounted COVID-19 deaths in India

In part two of this discussion between Professor Christophe Z Guilmoto and Indranil Mukhopadhyay, they discuss how India grossly under-reported deaths from COVID-19.

Data speaks

Source: Our World in Data, www.ourworldindata.org
Source: Our World in Data, www.ourworldindata.org

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