Qatar Foundation’s global health initiative kicks off its virtual summit
Healthcare experts addressed the global response to COVID-19 in the opening ceremony of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) today, highlighting the importance of providing equal access to tests, treatments, and vaccines for all.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis that demands an unprecedented response and unprecedented innovation
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), was among the high-profile speakers who appeared in the virtual ceremony. Speaking about the importance of innovation in helping the world overcome challenges caused by the pandemic, he said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis that demands an unprecedented response and unprecedented innovation.
“Necessity is the mother of invention. And since the earliest days of the pandemic, people all over the world have found new ways to work and connect.
“But we also must ensure that all countries enjoy the benefits of innovation. That's why WHO and our partners launched the access to Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator – an innovative approach to ensuring fair allocation of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics.”
Dr. Tedros was joined by Dame Sally Davies, UK Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance, who spoke about the hidden threats of the antimicrobial resistant bacteria that are influenced by COVID-19. “We know that with COVID-19, people are using more antibiotics, and the antimicrobial resistant bacteria look as if they are going up,” she said.
Necessity is the mother of invention. And since the earliest days of the pandemic, people all over the world have found new ways to work and connect
“We need to attend to that silent growing pandemic, too. And the response to both is strengthening health systems and data.”
Davies spoke about the importance of the relationship between data science and public health, and the way in which we can harness it, as well as do things differently. “Together, with a number of colleagues in universities from Singapore, Imperial College, and the private sector, we have convened a collaboration called the Trinity Challenge.
“Through this challenge, we are interested in three core activities that will improve our use of data and analytics, and importantly our understanding of human behavior in response to health emergencies – so we are better prepared going forward.
“At the Trinity Challenge, we've launched a public challenge to incentivize and reward the best ideas. We are convening work, and we're doing thought leadership pieces on data. I invite people to join the Trinity Challenge, but I also highlight the need for behavioral evidence and using the data.”
WISH is Qatar Foundation’s global health initiative, and this year’s summit – held under the theme One World Our Health – is set to take place from November 15-19. Free to attend, interested participants can register at 2020.wish.org.qa