The Academy of Medical Sciences and the InterAcademy Partnership organised a series of workshops on the theme of global health inequalities between March-June. The workshops convened participants from across the world to explore the impact of COVID-19 on health inequalities.
Global Health Inequalities
The Academy of Medical Sciences and the InterAcademy Partnership organised a series of workshops on the theme of global health inequalities for Spring 2022. These workshops convened participants from across the world, including low-and middle- income countries and high-income countries.
Health inequalities refers to the differences in health status or in the distribution of health resources between different population groups. This includes differences between population groups within a country but also differences between countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought global health inequalities into wider public view. During the pandemic, the most vulnerable groups have been disproportionately affected, facing increased chances of becoming unwell and dying from COVID-19, in part due to unequal access to health services and interventions.
Health inequalities are also a key consideration for higher-income settings, where the pandemic has exposed how existing inequalities - and the interconnections between them such as race, gender or geography, are associated with an increased risk of becoming ill with a disease such as COVID-19. The pandemic has highlighted key research gaps that need to be addressed, to ensure that policy solutions are inclusive and reflect the needs of vulnerable and traditionally overlooked groups
This series of workshops convened participants from across the world to explore global health inequalities, through the lens of access to healthcare. The workshops considered the role of research in addressing evidence gaps and to identify next steps for research to support change. To achieve this, our aims were as follows:
- Provide a platform for different regions/countries to share their experiences, challenges and successes to allow countries to learn from one another.
- Explore the impact of COVID-19 on health inequalities, by bringing together evidence and research from different regions of the world on country/region specific challenges and barriers to accessing healthcare.
- Discuss how current evidence can better support existing knowledge gaps and address research challenges and identify mechanisms by which research can support and influence evidence-based interventions, both within and across settings.
- Agree on a list of research priorities and solutions to overcome the identified barriers and gaps which can be addressed globally but also on a country and regional level.
Following the workshops, a report was prepared to capture the main themes and discussions from across the workshops. Alongside the report, we have produced an accompanying communique, jointly endorsed by AMS and the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP). The communique includes a framework to guide the development of an internationally coherent research response to promote universal health coverage and address health inequalities. Spanish and Arabic translations of the communique will be available shortly.
The organisation of these workshops is being overseen by a global steering committee. The steering committee members are:
- Professor Catherine Law FMedSci, Population Policy & Practice Dept, UCL GOS Institute of Child Health, UK
- Professor Rajae El Aouad, President, University for a New Africa; Former Director, National Insitute of Hygiene, Morocco
- Dr Mary E. Ashinyo, Deputy Director responsible for Quality Assurance, Ghana Health Service
- Dr Suraj Bhattarai, Public Health Physician, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK (Asia); Global Young Academy
- Dr Steven Hoffmann, Director, Global Strategy Lab; Professor of Global Health, Law, and Political Science, York University; Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Population & Public Health, Canada
- Professor Beate Kampmann FMedSci, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, Director of the Vaccine Centre, LSHTM
- Dr Vittal Katikireddi, MRC/CSO, Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow
- Prof Sonny Kuku, Member of the Nigerian Academy of Science
- Dr Jorge Neira, Member of the National Academy of Medicine, Argentina
- Acad. Dr Carmencita Padilla, Academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines and Chancellor at University of the Philippines
- Professor Shakila Thangaratinam, Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Health, University of Birmingham, UK
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