The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Public Health and Social Policy
About the Event
Join us with a panel of three accomplished clinical, research and policy colleagues to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect public health and social policy now and in the future.
The World Health Organisation reports that COVID-19 has directly resulted in more than 3.7 million deaths and over 170 million infections globally, as of June 2021. In contrast, the last global pandemic, the Spanish Flu of the 1920s, led to over 50 million deaths and 500 million infections. The Spanish Flu had a major impact on public health and policy-making, in turn the socialisation of medicine and healthcare for all. At that time, many countries transformed their healthcare systems as a direct result of the pandemic. In 2021, we are seeing the same thing happening as a result of COVID-19.
COVID-19 has existed, and perhaps thrived as a result of, our interconnected and globalised world. Internet and technology have allowed us all to maintain up-to-date news and information sharing, which has helped us to strategise and collaborate together. More developed countries have greater resources to prepare, prevent and manage the pandemic. However, each country is promoting their domestic agenda, and seeks to protect their own citizens first. This has led to a huge gap in vaccine funding and health system capacity across nations.
As we look forward to the latter half of 2021, we should work better together. It is important to continue to look for ways to mitigate political sensitivities across many countries, to ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for everyone.
About the Panelists
Professor Linda Bauld is the Bruce and John Usher Professor of Public Health in the Usher Institute, College of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh and cancer prevention adviser at Cancer Research UK. Professor Bauld is a behavioural scientist with a PhD in social policy. Her research focuses on two main areas: the evaluation of complex public health interventions; and the use of evidence to inform health policy. During the Covid-19 pandemic she has served as adviser to the Covid-19 committee of the Scottish Parliament. She is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Academy of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Public Health.
Dr. Ruby Wang is the China Head of Health & Life Sciences Policy and Programmes at the UK Foreign Office, based at the British Embassy in Beijing. Dr Wang leads the China Network team on bilateral and multilateral health policy and the strategic design, implementation and delivery of bilateral health and life sciences programmes, in order to strengthen key health partnerships across the UK and China government, academia and industry. Dr Wang sits on the Digital Health Council at the Royal Society of Medicine and is a medical advisor for health technology organisations, having worked at Holmusk and AliHealth. She is a trained NHS Doctor, and was deployed to frontline NHS hospitals during the first wave of COVID-19 in the UK. She trained at University of Cambridge Medical School, and hospitals affiliated with University College London and University of Oxford. She also completed an MA in Neuroscience at University of Cambridge, and MMSc at Tsinghua University as a Schwarzman Scholar in Global Health and Technology Policy.