COVID-19: Challenge on Health Equity and Quality Education.

Written by Alicia Rando, TDN Cross-cultural Youth Exchange Fellow.

New York, NY (July 2021) – The UN established among its purposes that by 2030, universal access to health coverage would be achieved. For all this, the support from organizations and institutions for research, development and manufacture of vaccines and drugs for COVID-19 is essential, but also for all the diseases that affect poorer countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge to government, administrative, health, educational and social service institutions at all levels. The initial ignorance of the behavior of the virus in epidemiological terms has forced to seek innovative solutions. The fact is that COVID has not only revolutionized life in all parts of the planet, but has also changed the health and educational system around the world, both in the organization as in the learning needs and the methodology used.

The difficulty in slowing the initial expansion of the COVID-19 epidemic has forced governments to apply extraordinary measures, such as closing public buildings and limiting mobility. As a consequence, production, consumption and tourism have been reduced in most countries, causing great economic consequences.

The effects are being particularly profound in the countries most affected by the pandemic and in those that depend heavily on international trade, tourism and exports of raw materials, energy products and basic products, especially the most vulnerable countries, those whose dependence of these activities is very important.

One of the most important challenges that society has to face is guaranteeing universal access to health. It must promote and guarantee effective, universal and free access of the population to health services, social assistance and medicines, in a medical quality system and with non-discriminatory treatment. Progress must be made in the improvements that are needed in the long term and that all countries are firmly committed to strengthening the global health architecture.

Spending on health services was already low globally as a result of the austerity measures implemented by many countries in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008. Developed countries have been able to substantially increase budgetary allocations for health in response to the pandemic. In developing countries, which face a greater burden of illness generally, the pandemic is reducing the already scarce availability of essential health-care services, goods and supplies, including those for testing and treating COVID-19 infections.

Particularly in countries that lag the furthest behind, poor health infrastructure and shortages of trained health personnel and medical equipment and supplies, such as personal protective equipment, diagnostic tools and ventilators, are undermining the enjoyment of the right to health.

To ensure a rapid and effective recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the process of transition of technology and knowledge about vaccines should be accelerated to all countries, also strengthening the manufacturing capacity and thus achieving a faster distribution and efficient to reach the largest number of people in the shortest time possible.

Another very important challenge is to guarantee universal access to quality education. Education is the basis for improving our lives and sustainable development, so access to quality education must be universal. In recent times, there have been important advances in relation to improving their access to all levels and with the increase in school enrollment rates, especially in the case of women and girls. Education is a right; it should not be just a dream.

Countries must commit to reducing the digital divide and preparing education systems to respond effectively to the pandemic and the challenges of today’s society, continuing to work to contribute to sustainable and inclusive development at a global level, promoting respect to human rights and social cohesion at all levels. The key to achieving this is access to the Internet, as it reduces logistics costs and facilitates access to information for people who otherwise could not.

One of the objectives of the United Nations for the year 2030 is that all the children of the world should complete primary and secondary education, which should be universally free, equitable and of quality.

 

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