Open letter to the UN
Health Inequity during the Pandemic: A Cry for Ethical Global Leadership
H. E. Mr. Antonio Guterres,
This situation has brought out the best in human nature, namely solidarity. Many stories circulate on kind neighborly support, and commitment of frontline healthcare workers and of those who maintain essential services during lockdown. However, we are also witnessing the worst responses, from hoarding of food staples and hygiene supplies by people blind to the needs of others, to hoarding of PPE, laboratory tests, medicines and ventilators by wealthy nations, frantically outbidding each other. In the same nations, the media reveal plans to secure patents and benefits from effective vaccines and life-saving drugs, as we saw 30 years ago with HIV/AIDS.
This hoarding frenzy is in response to panic, but is also coupled with an attempt to extract profits from the crisis. So, we must ask: What will happen to those who do not have the economic muscle to outbid the big players? Will the scenarios for them be still more bleak as new medicines and vaccines are developed?
The Task Force should also advise countries and regions on coordinated, fair and equitable de-confinement strategies, while laying the foundation and promoting steps to strengthen universal health systems globally and to minimize the