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Preparing the health systems for futures pandemics

By Pierre-Yves Geoffard, Member of Le Cercle des économistes

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The Sars-cov2 pandemic is striking above all for its global nature. First of all, it affected health: while the virus primarily affected those affected by covid19 , both in its severe forms and in its long-term consequences, the measures taken to contain the pandemic, in particular the restrictions on contacts and travel, also had negative effects on the physical and mental health of the entire population. Secondly, it is impossible to isolate health from the other elements that contribute to well-being: income from work, social life, etc. Lastly, it has a global aspect, as no region of the world has been spared, and it has been shown that no country will be safe as long as the virus continues to circulate in other countries.

How can we prepare for future pandemics?

Surveillance of emerging epidemics must be strengthened; what is the global governance of these systems?

  • No one can predict the nature of the next pandemic, the only certainty being that it will hold surprises. What structures should be put in place now to be ready when the time comes? How can the global, regional, national and territorial levels be coordinated to respond with the necessary agility? How can we mobilise all the populations by giving each individual and each community the necessary tools to better manage their own risks?
  • What flexibility in the organisation of the health care system will make it possible to avoid hospital overcrowding and to maintain the treatment of other diseases?
  • How can we better assess the impact of non-pharmaceutical public health interventions (containment, working at a distance, closing schools, restaurants, etc.) on both the dynamics of the epidemic and on social and economic life?
  • What lessons can be learned from the innovation financing mechanisms mobilised during the pandemic (pre-orders, upstream financing, etc.)? Should the patent system be questioned, and what could replace it?
  • Is relocating (in France, in Europe?) the production of essential health goods a good way to ensure reliability and security of supply?