«Only a deeper degree of cooperation is going to take the pandemic under control»

The Graduate Institute Geneva and Heidi.news are co-producing a series of «pocket lectures» about the current crises: Covid-19, the virus that changes the world.

According to Suerie Moon, Co-Director of the Global Health Center of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies:

«The coronavirus has demonstrated, beyond anyone’s imagination, how deeply interconnected we are, and that what we need is a much more extensive and more profound international cooperation than we’ve seen up until this point».

This cooperation has to cover three areas:

  1. Sharing of information and research across borders, as quickly and as thoroughly as possible, so that the global community can understand what’s happening: how is the virus transmitted? Who is the most susceptible, most likely to become ill? What is the progression of the illness? What are the most accurate and rapid diagnostic tests?

  2. Insuring the manufacturing and access to scarce health products, such as masks, goggles, gowns, drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. There have been shortages of masks and other basic personal protective equipment for health workers those who are particularly vulnerable to infection. In this regard, unfortunately, governments have put in place export bans. Moon: «At the end of the day, this is short-sighted, because this means that the epidemic continues to burn, continues to be transmitted across borders and will continue to grow and to spread. Manufacturing capacity must be shared with the rest of the world».

  3. Financing to make sure that money is not a barrier to putting in place effective containment measures and to enable the research, the information sharing, the planning of production of commodities and ensuring global equitable access to these commodities. As for now, all the money committed will be injected into domestic economies, whereas we need to have some degree of pooled international financing.

The World Health Organisation, which is the nerve center of the global response to this outbreak, has been starved for resources. It made an appeal two months ago for about 675 million dollars to fund their own response and to support some of the poorest countries. It took over 6 weeks for that money to be mobilised. Suerie Moon:

«We cannot starve that brain of oxygen or of the food that’s necessary to make international cooperation work better. Only a deeper and more profound degree of international cooperation is going to take this pandemic under control.»