GHI joins call for WHO Equity Task Force

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Health Institute (GHI) joins policy-makers along with medical, academic and non-profit organizations from around the world to call on the World Health Organization to form a Global Health Equity Task Force.

The letter comes in light of the escalating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on vulnerable and marginalized populations across the world. “Media reports are surfacing of higher infection rates and mortality in under-served populations,” according to the letter. “From New York to New Orleans and Chicago in the U.S., to the shocking pictures of bodies lying in the streets in Ecuador, we see a prelude of the coronavirus impact in low- and middle-income countries, home to more than 80 percent of the world’s population.” (Read the full text of the Letter to the U.N.)

The signers look to WHO to exert global leadership “for a comprehensive, equity-focused response to the pandemic,” and to encourage international cooperation to ensure resources are allocated to all countries according to need. They look for enhanced recommendations on preparedness and response and international norms to ensure quality generic medicines, supplies and equipment are available across countries.

Signers include organizations including the Liberian Nurses Association, the Panamanian Society of Public Health, the European Public Health Association and many others.

“COVID 19 is ravaging the world and, as always, the poorer countries are going to have the very worst outcomes due to a lack of resources,” says James Conway, GHI associate director and director of the School of Medicine and Public Health Office of Global Health. “The Global Health Institute has signed onto a letter proposing the creation of a Global Equity Task Force within WHO to exert leadership and coordinate international cooperation for preparedness and response efforts, and a fair allocation of resources for all countries, according to need.”

April 21, 2020