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Submitted: 03 Aug 2020
Revision: 30 Sep 2020
Accepted: 30 Sep 2020
ePublished: 07 Nov 2020
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Health Promot Perspect. 2020;10(4): 300-305.
doi: 10.34172/hpp.2020.48
  Abstract View: 87
  PDF Download: 92

Perspective

Strengthening the COVID-19 pandemic response, global leadership, and international cooperation through global health diplomacy

Sumbal Javed 1 ORCID logo, Vijay Kumar Chattu 2,3* ORCID logo

1 School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
2 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
3 Institute of International Relations, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to claim lives around the world and, to some extent, reflects the failure of international cooperation. Global health diplomacy (GHD)can be a bridge for international cooperation for tackling public health crises, strengthening health systems through emphasizing universal health coverage for sustainable and equitable development, and rebuilding multilateral organizations. It can be a catalyst for future global health initiatives. Health should not be used as a political tool at the cost of people’s lives, nor should it become a proxy for geopolitics but can be used to diffuse tensions and create a positive environment for political dialogue. Health diplomacy’s focus should be to mitigate inequality by making available diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines as a global public good. The implications for the lack of international cooperation will lead to increased global disparities and inequities as the countries that cannot procure vaccines will find their population more vulnerable to the pandemic’s repercussion. Though the international cooperation on trade has suffered the impact of geopolitical shifts and competition, through engaging in GHD, the governments can align the trade and health policies. Amid this global health crisis, the World Health Organization (WHO) has faced an increase in International Health Regulations violations, limiting its influence and response during this COVID-19 pandemic. Nations need to develop a sense of cooperation that serves as the basis for a mutual strategic trust for international development. The priorities of all the countries should be to find the areas of common interest, common operational overlap on development issues, and resource allocation for this global fight against COVID-19.
Keywords: COVID-19, Global health, Diplomacy, International cooperation, World Health Organization, Pandemic, International health regulations
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