Global economy|Social challenges|Resilient healthcare

Five key take-aways from 2020

22/12/2020 PNG

Take-away #1: We learned that our health systems weren't prepared to cope with a pandemic, even in advanced economies.

Health systems worldwide buckled under the pressure when the pandemic hit, and countries continue to scramble to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and provide effective care. Mobilising health professionals was difficult everywhere, but is proving harder in countries with low numbers of doctors and nurses.

Take-away #2: We realised the extent to which the health of societies and the global economy are intertwined.

Revised regional GDP forecasts show the extent to which the global economy has taken a hit in 2020. From what was largely a positive outlook for the global economy in January, experts are now projecting that global gross domestic product (GDP) will contract by 4.2% in 2020, with both regional and individual country variations.

Take-away #3: We saw how a crisis can accelerate deep-seated employment and social protection inequalities for certain groups, notably young people and women.

The COVID-19 crisis has had, and continues to have, a greater impact on some workers than others. Young people and women are among those at greatest risk of joblessness and poverty. They generally have less secure, unskilled jobs, and are highly represented among workers in industries most affected by the crisis, such as tourism and restaurants.

Take-away #4: We discovered the extent of our reliance on digital tools and infrastructure to keep our lives, societies and economies going.

Many schools have had to close worldwide during the pandemic. As learning moved on line, the most disadvantaged students without access to a home computer or digital device have been at greatest risk of falling behind. This could widen already existing learning gaps among students. An inclusive recovery cannot happen without real efforts to close the digital divide within and among countries.

Take-away #5: We recognised the importance of social support and of having family and friends on whom we can count when a crisis hits.

Individuals who say they have family and friends to whom they can turn for help in times of trouble are consistently more likely to be satisfied with their personal health. Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks of physical and mental conditions.