Health Experts: Trust leaders to fight pandemic

Communities need to become Covid-ready, says WHO director general’s Special Envoy for Covid-19 Dr David Nabarro

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Trust in leaders is one of the strongest tools to fight the coronavirus outbreak worldwide, says World Health Organization (WHO) Director General’s Special Envoy for Covid-19 Dr David Nabarro.

As viruses are the problem and people are the solution, in order to succeed the people must have trust in their leaders, he said on Wednesday. 

Nabarro was presenting the keynote paper in the inaugural session of a three-day-long virtual ‘International Conference on Covid-19, 2022: Learning for Future Healthcare Systems in Low-and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)’ on Wednesday, hosted by Brac James P Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH) and Bangladesh Health Watch.

“There are certain compulsions around the world such as taking the shot (of vaccine). If leaders have their people’s trust, they will be able to make them listen,” he said adding that people need to keep in mind that this is not the flu but covid. 

He said that the virus is here to stay and will not go away anytime soon as it continues to evolve and therefore communities always have to be Covid-ready. 

“Societies are working out how to live with the virus in ways that cause minimal disruption to people and economies: they are becoming Covid-ready,” he said. 

According to the WHO official, being Covid-ready means learning lessons , especially about the inequitable impact of the virus on societies and the importance of well-functioning public health capabilities.

Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Additional Director Meerjady Sabrina Flora, who was present at the session, said while the pandemic presented Bangladesh with lots of challenges, it also created opportunities to learn as well.

“Initially the government did not have capacity to store Pfizer vaccines as we have cold chain scarcity. However, now we are able to provide Pfizer vaccine even in upazilas,” she said. 

She added that the pandemic has taught that working collectively with the non-government organizations can help mitigate and contain any pandemic in the future.  

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