Examples from around the world are emerging of how governments are responding and continuously adapting their measures to this unprecedented situation as well as to mitigate the secondary impacts of the pandemic, including disruption of health services and socioeconomic effects.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has since the first outbreak in December 2019 become a global pandemic, spreading to more than 182 countries and territories. It has become clear that the impact of COVID-19 goes far beyond the immediate challenges that the health sector is facing. Governments’ responses require a complex mix of health, social protection, and economic measures. Although scarcely four months into the COVID-19 pandemic, lessons are already emerging from countries, both from those who were more successful in stemming the COVID-19 outbreak as well as those that had to deal with a full-blown epidemic. They include extensive testing, proactive tracing, emphasis on home diagnosis and care, and efforts to monitor and protect health care workers as well as a package of services to ensure the continuation of essential health and psychosocial services, unemployment benefits, and cash assistance. Now more than ever is country-to-country learning of critical significance.
The contribution of South-South and Triangular cooperation in responding to health crises and disaster risk reduction has been widely recognized. It has also been proven during responses to MERS, Ebola, and now, to COVID-19. In the early phase of the outbreak, about 79 countries, the majority from the Global South, have donated medical supplies and other materials to China. And as the pandemic continues to spread globally, developing countries have been sending medical experts and providing support to both developing and developed countries. Among the assistance that is currently being provided, the Chinese government has delivered testing reagents, masks, and protective suits, as part of their announced commitment to provide assistance to 82 countries, WHO, and the African Union.
The webinar aimed to promote the sharing of experiences and emerging lessons learned from different countries responding to COVID-19. Panelists and participants of the webinar will share insights and perspectives on: 1) the overall COVID-19 situation in their respective country 2) overall response and management of the epidemic; 3) social protection and economic measures that have been put in place to support vulnerable populations; 4) lessons learned and recommendations, and 5) opportunities for South-South knowledge sharing and cooperation. The webinar also intended to contribute to a global exchange of experiences that could increase understanding of the challenges and solutions, improve the effectiveness of cross-disciplinary responses, and leverage cooperation amongst countries, including through South-South and triangular cooperation.
Presentations were made by the following panelists, followed by a Q&A session. The session was moderated by Ms. Martha Santos, Programme Manager, South-South/Horizontal Cooperation, UNICEF
- Mr. Jorge Chediek, Director of UNOSSC and Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation
- Mr. Mihir Bhatt, Director of All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI), India
- Mr. Taidong Zhou, Head of Global Development Division, Center for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD), China
- Prof. Young June Choe, Department of preventive medicine, Hallym University, Republic of Korea
- Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang, Deputy Director, UNOSSC
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