While global health systems are increasingly burdened by COVID-19, they are also challenged by maintaining regular health services and nutritional interventions.
A joint blog by the World Bank’s global directors of Health, Nutrition and Population and Agriculture and Food focuses on the importance of nutritious and safe diets for good health. With so many people falling ill from COVID-19, weakened supply chains and unhealthy diets are contributing to pre-existing conditions that put them more at risk. Malnutrition weakens people’s immune systems, increasing people’s chances of getting ill, staying ill, and dying because of illness.
International preparedness for epidemics and pandemics remains weak, reflecting years of neglect and underfunding. Countries’ average score on the Global Health Security Index is about 40 out of 100, with much lower scores in developing countries. COVID-19 is a wake-up call for the importance of investing in resilient health systems.
As COVID-19 (coronavirus) spreads around the world, governments and development organizations are thinking hard about how to respond effectively. Systematic learning from experiences across the world will help development practitioners tackle COVID-19 and prepare for a future with more resilient health systems.
The Middle East and North Africa region is facing an increasing burden on health systems from COVID-19. This includes non-communicable diseases; a diverse range of vulnerable and at-risk populations due to poverty, inequality, conflict and humanitarian crises; as well as weaknesses in their health systems. How can they ensure the continuity of essential health services during COVID-19?