Dr. Sebastian Kevany
Written for the Irish Global Health Network
Unfortunately, there are only a limited number of ways that data or examples from developed countries are likely to help the developing world, and sub-Saharan Africa in particular, in their preparations for the current global pandemic. There are too many variables in play — not least geographical differences; possibilities of diminution of virulence over time and space; preparation times; available resources; culture; religion; and a host of other possible confounders. Response systems which have shown encouraging quantitative results in one nation may thus be ineffective, or even counterproductive, on other levels and in other places.
Timing, chance and circumstance (such as in the case of Italy) have played key roles in country-by-country impact, meaning that ostensibly positive data cannot always be meaningfully linked to policy, either. Even within Europe, unhelpful comparisons on the interaction between policy and results abound: Sweden, for example, has greater health system capacity than Ireland – and, ultimately, the only point of any social or economic intervention has been to avoid health system overrun. Nonetheless, there are benefits that developing countries may accrue from attention to health security experiences and response strategies in Southeast Asia, Europe, and elsewhere.
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