Francesca Colombo, M.Sc., is Head of the Health Division at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. She is responsible for OECD work on health, which aims at providing internationally comparable data on health systems and applying economic analysis to health policies, advising policy makers, stakeholders and citizens on how to respond to demands for more and better health care and make health systems more people centred. Major activities under her responsibility cover the response to the COVID-19 crisis and solutions to make health systems more resilient; trends in health spending; measuring of health care outcomes, activities and inputs; health care quality policies; assessing health system efficiency and value for money; health workforce; long-term care systems and ageing; the economics of public health; pharmaceutical policies, new technologies, big data and Artificial Intelligence in health (http://www.oecd.org/health).
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January, the highest level of alarm under international law.The virus has tested our health systems and societies to their core, highlighting the weaknesses and ability of the countries to handle a large-scale public health crisis. The pandemic has grown to constitute the largest global public health crisis in a century with formidable health, social and economic challenges across the world. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has stressed that “The global coronavirus outbreak is the sort of disaster whose effects will last far into the future”. What are the lessons learnt from the pandemic so far? What can be done better in the future to contain large scale effects of global pandemic? How can we rebuild trust in multilateral institutions and encourage more profound international cooperation to handle health emergencies? How can we re-wire and improve our global health institutions?