Pandemic Preparedness for the Real World: Why We Must Invest in Equitable, Ethical and Effective Approaches to Help Prepare for the Next Pandemic
10 March 2023
The costs of the Covid-19 Pandemic are unknown but they have been unequally distributed both within and between countries. Preparedness plans proved inadequate in many settings – especially when it came to protecting those most vulnerable, including those marginalised by geography, poverty, or exclusion along the lines of religion, ethnicity or gender. The top-down, surge-style, biomedically dominated and technologically driven preparedness approach that has dominated global health thinking and which was propelled into action with Covid-19 was found wanting not only on the grounds of effectiveness, but also of social justice. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for a convergence of the preparedness and development agendas. Drawing on a growing body of social science evidence, this report contends that securing health in the face of today’s uncertain disease threats in often unpredictable settings means making social, economic and political priorities as core to the preparedness agenda as biological and technological ones. We present here a framework for a vision of pandemic preparedness for the real world – one that accepts that context is paramount, embraces inclusivity and justice, shifts power centres and rejects simplistic, one-size-fits-all solutions.