Public Health Lessons From The Covid-19 Pandemic

The covid-19 pandemic is by far the most unprecedented event in recent history. It has shaken up our systems of organization. Its apocalyptic reality has put the flaws of our economic and health systems in stark relief. Let us look at the salient lessons that have been learnt from this pandemic.

Digitizing Health Sector

Many countries have now digitized their health sectors. This is because it has been realized that the best way to deal with the flood of patients was to manage everything digitally. For instance, test results and vaccination certificates are sent by email so that there is no need for the physical presence of their recipients. In Saudi Arabia, these measures have been taken as part of the ambitious Public Health Sector Transformation program.

The Importance of Supporting Research

This pandemic has proved that our very survival depends on the success of scientific research. If there hadn’t been competent and well-funded scientists among us, we wouldn’t have a vaccine today. Thus, it is now clear beyond any doubt that science is acutely valuable. Therefore, it is necessary to support research at all costs. Private investors can help in this regard by investing in privatized health institutions in various countries. Recently, investors have been invited to invest in Saudi Arabia as part of its privatization strategy.

The Evils of Misinformation

False claims about the safety of the covid vaccine resulted in anti-vaccine campaigns in some places. Similarly, misinformation about the nature of the virus led to many people not taking the necessary precautions. In the USA, an active campaign against masks rose in the streets, all due to misinformation on social media. All of this has made clear that misleading information on social media-especially regarding public health issues- can have severe real-life repercussions.

Automobiles Are Worse Than We Thought

The world’s major urban centres saw a sharp reduction in air pollution levels once governments-imposed lockdowns. The removal of most of the vehicles from the roads had a surprisingly stark effect on air quality. We have now learned that reducing the use of cars is an efficient way of reducing air pollution, and consequently preventing various respiratory illnesses.

It can be tempting to treat the pandemic with horror and pessimism. Those feelings are, of course, valid. The lessons we have learnt are various and valuable; let us keep them in our collective memory.

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