Will the creation of a new EU body to tackle cross-border health threats guarantee the bloc will mount a better and more coordinated response to the next pandemic?
At the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, the European Union (EU) did not present itself from its best and most unified side. Uncoordinated border closures, export bans on medical supplies, and a lack of cross-border contact tracing were just some examples of the failures to find a common response to a threat that did not stop at borders.1
In this episode of YFG interview series, Aysel Rahimli, Programme Coordinator of Human Resource for Health projects from Wemos, interviews Matthias Wismar of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. Matthias shares his views on what is the role of governance in building resilient health systems, how to enhance solidarity and engagement with civil society, both during and beyond COVID-19 crises.
The EU’s vaccination campaign has gathered pace and is expected to further accelerate in the coming weeks following a surge in available vaccines. This gain in momentum is sorely needed: there is much public frustration over the EU being outpaced by countries like Israel, the United States and—probably most painfully—its former member, the United Kingdom. Inevitably, the question arose whether the EU was acting smartly by attaining and distributing vaccines as a joint effort rather than having member states negotiate contracts individually.
Yes, we have failed. This was the short answer to the central question posed during a recent European Health Forum Gastein webinar to discuss the European Health Union Initiative (EHUI) – a campaign for a European Health Union (EHU) – which supports the vision of a European Health Union for concerted action on health threats. The European Health Union Initiative looks beyond covid-19 and addresses longer-term and more comprehensive issues such as environmental sustainability and ensuring the most vulnerable populations are heard and protected.
The final episode of the YFG interview series focuses on a participatory approach in the COVID-19 pandemic. Dheepa Rajan, Health Systems Advisor, Department for Health Systems Governance and Financing, World Health Organization and Young Gasteiner Matej Vinko, Public Health Specialist, National Institute of Public Health of Slovenia, elaborate on the elements of participatory health governance and how civil society can better be part of decision-making processes.