The COVID-19 pandemic exposed how the global health architecture is simply not fit for purpose: rich countries hoarded vaccines, while low- and middle-income countries were left behind; communities in the Global South grappled with massive health inequalities, even as poverty soared.
The bitter experiences of the pandemic demanded new structures. But COVAX, the global initiative launched to ensure a fairer and more equitable distribution of COVID tests, treatments, and vaccines largely failed to deliver on its promise.
Initiatives are now underway to learn lessons. More preparedness funds are being set up, while new manufacturing hubs are being established in different parts of the world. But are they enough to ensure that the leaders of the future will be able to choose global solidarity instead of responding out of fear and putting their own countries first?
This episode of Rethinking Humanitarianism explores how the global health architecture could be adjusted to make it more inclusive, and asks what it might take to force the world to respond in a more equitable way when the next pandemic strikes.
Rethinking Humanitarianism host Heba Aly is joined by Petro Terblanche, managing director of Afrigen; and Fifa Rahman, civil society representative at the ACT-Accelerator.