The World Health Organization (WHO) has criticized the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic across Europe in a study, stating that lessons must be learned in order to avoid another pandemic and similar economic consequences.
Despite numerous warnings, the WHO claimed that the region was unprepared for the pandemic and that its failure to respond to and contain the effects of Covid-19, as well as the over 1.2 million deaths in Europe, was due to the region’s divided health and social care policies.
As a result, the Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development, an independent panel of experts and scientists, compiled a report on the region’s response to the pandemic, calling for actions to improve regional and global health governance at all levels of society and across the region.
The COVID-19 pandemic, according to Professor Mario Monti, Chair of the Commission, was a “monumental and unsolicited stress test” that the world failed.
The experts call for closer cooperation between all European countries and at all levels in the report, while also emphasizing the need for more streamlined crisis management across the European region and the development of a solid crisis plan.
Apart from being prepared for future pandemics, which experts predict will occur, countries have been urged to rethink current health and social policies, which have contributed to high levels of wealth and income inequality, underinvestment in social protection, racism, and other forms of discrimination.
Governments have been urged to track and treat health disparities, as well as to close long-standing financial inequalities in primary care, mental health care, and social care, while also investing in and preserving the health workforce.
The Commission also recommended that the region adopt a new health and development strategy based on the One Health idea and lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is the most essential suggestion in the report, according to Professor Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and report author.
This concept recognizes the interconnectedness of people, animals, plants, and their shared environment, and that when one part is in danger, the others are in danger as well, according to the organization, which cited deforestation and international travel as factors that aided the virus’s emergence and global spread.
National governments, regional and global players, as well as health and social care system management, should all be involved in far-reaching reforms, investment programmes, and governance changes.
Finally, the experts recommended the establishment of a Pan-European Council on Health Threats, which would provide stronger political backing in order to avoid the coordination and policy issues that plagued the current epidemic.
Because the pandemic preparedness and reaction varies from nation to country, lessons will be country-specific at times. Evaluations and audits of the response and decision-making during the coronavirus crisis have already been completed in certain nations; but, due to the evolving crisis, they have been postponed in others.