D-8 strengthens cooperation and solidarity in order to tackle COVID-19 pandemic
The D-8 Health and Social Protection Programme Office in Abuja (D-8 HSP) and Chatham House jointly organized first virtual roundtable of health professionals of the D-8 Member States on 16th of April, 2020 in order to discuss the COVID-19 Pandemic. The meeting was attended by professionals from the Ministries of health and Foreign Affairs of the Member States as well as International Organizations such as Chestrad International and Corvus Health from USA as well as officials of Chatham House, Malaysian Technology Development Cooperation (MTDC) and the Islamic World Science Citation Center of Iran (ISC).
The prime objective of the virtual roundtable is to come-up with a mechanism for cooperation in order to lessen the hardship caused by the pandemic through knowledge and resources sharing as well as understanding of country specific needs. During the meeting the D-8 Member States reviewed the country’s contexts and impact of the pandemic and shared some ideas and innovative solutions implemented by them in line with global best practices.
The Secretary General of the D-8, Ambassador Dato’ Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari, while addressing the meeting, stressed that that the D-8 Member States have to use the D-8 Health and Social Protection Programme window to support one another in these trying times. He also emphasized the need to improve partnerships, experience sharing and mutual support and assistance in order to mitigate the consequential adversities of the pandemic.
The D-8 Commissioners from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan also participated in the meeting and praised the efforts of the Secretary-General and D-8 HSP office for timely organizing the roundtable. They also highlighted the importance of utilizing the D-8 HSP platform to strengthen cooperation in the health sector among the Member States. Furthermore, the Commissioners urged the Secretariat to look into the economic effect of the pandemic and propose a mechanism to mitigate the adversities in this regard.
The virtual session was moderated by the Programme Director of the D-8 HSP, Dr. Ado Muhammad and Director, Global Health Programme Executive Director, Centre for Universal Health of Chatham House Mr. Robert Yates and called for solidarity and cooperation in the areas of commodities, technology, equipment, pharmaceuticals and other needed items.
Prof Dr. David Heymann, Epidemiologist and public Health Researcher, gave a comprehensive briefing to the participants on global best health practices and security and highlighted the importance of implementation of same in order to curb the pandemic.In the same vein, professionals from international organizations discussed the importance of multi-lateral public-private partnerships and joint evaluation of research and innovation in order to tackle the pandemic.
The meeting also evaluated the consequential adversities of the COVID-19 pandemic from the economic point of view. As projected by the IMF, the pandemic is expected to lead to global recession far deeper and more devastating than that of 2008 economic meltdown. It will also result in loss of income worldwide, the aggregate of which is in the region of 3.4 trillion USD, which will affect billions of people across the world. Hence, the compelling need for cooperation and solidarity in order to secure lives of citizens and economies of the Member States.
The meeting also decided to establish a separate working group to commence assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the national economies of the Member States. When established, the working group will disaggregate data on GDP, Employment and poverty and suggest effective ways for the D-8 Member States to quickly get out of the woods
The Member States pointed out the need to continue with a series of discussions and follow-up of the decision made at the roundtable. Furthermore, the D-8 HSP shared the draft schedule of the next round-table meetings and applauded the spirit of the Member States and international organizations and their valuable contributions to the discussions.
As a result of the productive discussions at the virtual meeting, two working groups emerged: Implementation Monitoring Group- to provide weekly updates and recommendations for a data driven programme that comprises of Egypt, Indonesia, Iran and Nigeria; and the Resource Mobilization Group- to articulate strategies and recommendations for domestic resourcing by countries that is to be done by Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.
The D-8 further plans to host a meeting of the D-8 Ministers of Health on the sidelines of the 2020 World Health Assembly.
For on-the-spot updates on the COVID-19 Pandemic in the D-8 Member States please click on https://maps.isc.gov.ir/covid19/#/d8, the special COVID-19 visualizer map launched by the ISC.