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Chakwera Calls For Equitable Health At World Economic Forum 

By Chikumbutso Mtumodzi, MANA

President Lazarus Chakwera has stressed the need for equitable healthcare across the globe, saying it is the only way of safeguarding the global economy from health-related disruptions nations have experienced in the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chakwera said this when he made a presentation on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum he is currently attending in Davos, Switzerland on ‘Investing in Health Equity’. 

“In practice, this means that investing in filling the health systems gaps and inequities that the pandemic has exposed in developing nations like Malawi is an investment in the stability of the global economy. 

“It must be done, and it must be done by all stakeholders. One model for doing this that is worth highlighting is the Global Fund whose 7th Replenishment I am a champion of,” said the Malawi President. 

“Investments in health systems by the Global Fund have given our health facilities the capacity to save millions of lives from Malaria, which is the number one killer in Africa, as well as Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS,” said the President amidst handclapping.

Chakwera also noted that in the conventional thinking of the pre-COVID world, nations mostly behaved as though what makes a nation’s economy thrive is economic activity- the making of things of value to be sold and bought at a profit, and in turn, the making of profits to be invested in the creation and expansion of industry across multiple sectors.

The Malawi leader, who is also Chairperson of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), said the world and its conventional thinking is gone now. 

“COVID-19 has completely debunked this assumption. We now know that public health is the bedrock of economics. We are all now painfully aware that if the health of any nation’s citizens cannot be guaranteed, it threatens the very foundations of the economy. 

“We are also painfully aware that the economies of all nations are so inextricably linked that a Corona virus outbreak in the Eastern World or a Monkey pox outbreak in the Western World can have devastating effects on economies in the Global South,” President Chakwera stated. 

He then appealed to the delegates to make sure that initiatives like this that are aimed at investing in health systems do not lose their place on their list of priorities.

The Malawi First citizen further explained that the loss of investments in health is not merely a fear, but a reality that critical players like the Global Fund are having to contend with as contributing nations are reassigning their resources to emerging geopolitical emergencies like the war in Eastern Europe. 

“However, if the experience we have all had with COVID in the past two years is anything to go by, this is not a gamble we can afford. We must deal with security emergencies without compromising investments in public health.

“The future of our economies depends on it,” he said. 

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 convened at the most consequential geopolitical and geo-economic moment of the past three decades and against the backdrop of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

The meeting has brought together over 2,000 leaders and experts from around the world, all committed to a “Davos Spirit” of improving the state of the world.

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