The Future of Health
Wednesday 3 June 2020
Webinar: Inequality after Covid
The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified inequalities between and across different groups and countries across the world. Effective social protection has been critical to the reduction of vulnerability. However, as many countries struggle to provide universal healthcare, the outbreak of COVID-19 has put pressure on healthcare systems globally. This has seen governments redirecting fiscus towards curtailing the effects of the pandemic, including in countries where healthcare systems are under-resourced and poorly staffed. This webinar explored the various issues concerning inequality that COVID-19 has highlighted as well as those created by the response to the disease. How should nation-states strengthen public health systems for future threats of this kind? Will conditions for precarious workers change post-pandemic? Governments will, for the short term at least, want to find alternative ways in which to support livelihoods, on pain of widespread malnutrition or even famine. How they are going to respond to increased deprivation? Will governments be able to fund these interventions? Will loans from international lenders come with conditions that may impact such schemes? How will COVID-19 influence migration regulation and border management, and ultimately, how are governments going to achieve a more inclusive society in which the respect for human rights for all will be achieved? Fundamentally, are there choices we can make now, as nations and a world, that will reduce the inequality and the hardship that falls on those at the bottom of the global pile? The event was chaired by Professor Alex Broadbent, Director of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge. The speakers were Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi, the Executive Dean of Law at the University of Johannesburg and a specialist in labour law and social protection, Dr Sridhar Venkatapuram, a Senior Lecturer in Global Health and Philosophy at King’s College Global Health Institute, and Professor Steven Friedman, a Research Professor at the University of Johannesburg.