WGS Dialogues: Tedros highlights importance of strong, resilient health systems

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - DUBAI, UAE — Day two of the World Government Summit Dialogues opened with a keynote speech by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Ghebreyesus thanked the UAE government for hosting this very important meeting. He said: “When I spoke at the WGS in 2018, I emphasized the need for investing in universal health coverage and health security as two sides of the same coin to prepare us to meet the pandemics of the future.

“Well, the future is now. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down, and shown why strong, resilient health systems are so important.

“In combination with proven public health measures, vaccines are now giving us hope for bringing the pandemic under control. But we will only do that if vaccines are shared equitably between nations. The more opportunity the virus has to spread, the more opportunity it has to change in ways that could make vaccines less effective.

“Vaccine nationalism will only prolong the pandemic, and the human and economic suffering that goes with it. And although vaccines will help, we will still be left with many of the same challenges we had before.

“Health must be seen not as a cost to be contained but as an investment in productive and resilient populations, and a key to sustainable development.”

In closing, Dr. Ghebreyesus highlighted WHO’s continued commitment to supporting all countries in building stronger health systems for the healthier, safer, and fairer world we all want. He said: “Health is not simply a product of strong and prosperous nations — it’s the foundation of social, economic, and political stability.” — SG

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