The COVID-19 is the biggest challenge that the world nations have faced in the last 100 year. The governments and health systems have been unable to cope adequately with this crisis. The COVID-19 has affected nearly all countries of the world countries; both high-income as well as low- and middle-income countries found it hard to cope adequately with this crisis. There is no medicine available for the cure of COVID-19 that has resulted in millions of deaths globally. However, vaccines have now been invented, which would most likely help in getting rid of this deadly virus.In spite if this, it is still believed that more than a year is required before all the people of the world will have access to vaccination. This means we still need to carry on with prevention strategies such as had washing, sanitization and social distancing. Similarly, the health systems globally will need to ensure resources and services for the treatment of patients as well.
We have learnt that the health system alone cannot cope with this pandemic; therefore, the governments and health systems must continue working with patients and communities to overcome this global crisis.
The WPA requires that:
- The governments and healthcare systems around the world must put in place effective strategies to ensure that all patients and communities have access to Covid-19 vaccines. The WHO and the UN must also ensure that there are global collaborative efforts for equal and immediate access of Covid-19 vaccine to all the people of the world without financial hardship.
- The governments and healthcare systems must also ensure access to safe and appropriate diagnostic, preventive and treatment services. The high-risk individuals such as patients with pre-existing medical conditions, like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, elderly and other vulnerable groups should be given special attention and access to appropriate services.
- The governments must provide all the possible resources and support to their respective health systems and work towards the provision of adequate services to patients with no financial hardship.
- There must be no discrimination by the governments and health systems on the basis of patient condition, age, language, religion, ethnicity, income level, legal status, etc.
- The governments and health systems while dealing with the crisis must respect the values, preferences and needs of the patients. Moreover, individuals’ rights, dignity, privacy & confidentiality and freedom should also be respected.
- Patients organizations should be empowered as an important stakeholder for creating awareness and supporting patients & caregivers to make informed decisions and healthcare choices.
- The patients and communities must be given comprehensive, appropriate and simplified information about the diagnostic, preventive, treatment and any other services. The patients and community members should be involved in the production and dissemination of this information.
- The patients, patient advocates and patients’ organizations should support their governments and healthcare systems by providing accurate information to the public that will help in timely diagnosis, prevention, treatment and vaccination at local levels. Moreover, they should also refer the public to reliable information resources such as World Health Organization (WHO) and other leading organizations’ websites and other resources.
- The patients and communities must cooperate with healthcare providers and authorities in not only dealing with their own health but also to help the community at large. In this regard, the regular advices of governments and healthcare authorities must be followed at all times.
- The patients and communities must avoid public gathering, social distancing or any other activities that may help in increasing the virus spread.
- The governments must ensure the human rights of the patients and communities during isolation, quarantine and any other such measures. The governments must engage with the populations and inform them about the goals and processes of isolation and quarantine. The values and concerns of the population should be taken into account in the planning, implementation, and utilization of such activities. No one should be kept in unnecessary isolation and quarantine. There should be constant monitoring and in the case of any problems, systems should be in place to take immediate correct measures. The patients and individuals should also take all the precautions as recommended by the health authorities. It is better to stay at home and self-isolate as it helps in preventing the spread of the disease.
- The governments should ensure to the best of their ability that appropriate services are provided for comprehensive diagnostic, preventive treatment and vaccination services to people. Moreover, the patients feedback systems must be in place with authorities taking any corrective measures accordingly. Communication to the public needs to be updated on continued basis so that each person is informed about the progression of COVID-19 and what their responsibility is.
- The WHO should coordinate global efforts and ensure the provision of diagnostic, preventive, treatment and vaccination services in all countries of the world so that no patient or community remains underserved. Moreover, the countries should also be provided any required support related to the supply of vaccine, medicines, equipment strengthening of the health systems as well as the capacity building of the healthcare providers.
- The WHO and the UN must take the lead and devise a mechanism through which countries work collaboratively to deal with this pandemic. There should be global collaboration to ensure sharing of experiences, knowledge and expertise, as well as any other resources like financial help and provision of lifesaving medicines, equipment and vaccination.