YFG Interview: health preparedness

In episode two of the #YFG2021 interview series, Maria Sotiriou, External Relations Officer, WHO Europe speaks with Sandra Gallina, Director General, European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety. In this lively interview, DG Gallina shares her personal experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, how the pandemic has been a catalyst for change in attitudes towards health, and how Europe’s new Health Emergency and Response Authority (HERA) will contribute to preparedness both in the EU, and beyond.

High hopes for Europe’s new Health Emergency and Response Authority

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

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YFG Interview: The role of governance to enhance resilience of health systems in Europe

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.

Coordination was the right path for the EU’s vaccine strategy, but lessons need to be learned

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.

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Has Europe failed to protect its people from covid-19?

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.

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