Fahad Al Mubarak says health systems should not be seen as a cost but as an investment following turmoil caused by coronavirus pandemic
Speaking on a panel session during the second day of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, Al Mubarak said that among the many lessons learned from the current global coronavirus pandemic is the “vulnerabilities in our health system”.
He said: “It was very clear that across all countries, health systems, hospitals are not sufficient to handle such a crisis. We had people in the corridors, people who couldn’t get tested and who couldn’t get treated.”
In October last year, the leaders of the Group of 20 countries (G20) descended on Riyadh, in a virtual setting, where issues of the world were discussed, under the presidency of Saudi King Mohammed Bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Under his stewardship the G20 raised over $20 billion for research and development for Covid-19 vaccine treatment and production distribution; while the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative to help the world’s poorest countries free up funds as they battle the Covid-19 pandemic totalled around $14bn.
Al Mubarak said: “Had we invested all of this and more, and we’re not talking about the social cost and the jobs lost and the social impact. All of this is a cost we had to pay to overcome the impact, the health, economic and the social. Had we invested that money in our health system, we would have been better off.”
According to the latest information, there have been more than 101.5 million cases of coronavirus since the start of the crisis, which has claimed the lives of over 2.1 million people.
Al Mubarak added that, after the financial crisis in 2008-09, the banks and financial systems were rebuilt, making them much stronger to deal with the economic fall-out of the ongoing pandemic. He believed similar reconstruction is needed in global health systems in a post-civid world.
“This time it’s time to invest in the health system,” he said.
He also urged the need for a “social safety net” to assist people who have forced into unemployment for a sustained period of time as a result of coronavirus. “People are out of jobs unless a government comes up with an adhoc, one-off support to those who are jobless or businesses who need to retain their people, maybe to subsidise that.
“We do not have a system that will be able to handle that situation where people are off jobs for some time.”
Source: Arabian Business