Dr Owain Williams co-authors Telegraph article on lessons learnt from Covid

Dr Owain Williams, Lecturer in Political Science and International Relations, and Prof. Matt Sparke, Executive Director of Global and Community Health, University of California, co-author the piece.

The article entitled “Prepped to fail: why countries must learn hard lessons from Covid” explores how budget cuts in public health have made countries vulnerable to Covid. The article references health systems in Australia, Ecuador and the US to highlight issues resulting from a fragmented government approach and disinvestment in public health.

“Nearly all countries had plans for pandemics in compliance with the International Health Regulations”, however, many of those countries did not have public health capacity to execute the plans successfully.

According to the authors, “the wider global lessons are simple. Preventive public health is at its most impressive when it is invisible. But because it saves lives in the future rather than treating sick people in the present, and because it is a public good rather than a private good, we have neglected it”.

Issues surrounding the public health response to the pandemic are clear to identify when viewed “through the lens of investments in public health”, state the authors. To expand upon this point, they use the example of South-East Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea, who all experienced early success when Covid first hit.

The piece concludes that “prompted by the horrendous human and economic costs of Covid, governments everywhere need to learn these lessons anew and invest in public health as a global public good”.