The pandemic can be stopped. We already know how, explain two of the world’s top public health doctors in this episode on lessons from the pandemic. The solution involves truly understanding how the disease was stopped in the early countries that confronted it. “We’re going back and relearning a lot of the lessons from China,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward, who led the World Health Organization’s mission to China and is working to share those findings in Italy and other countries. Dr. Aylward says leader’s in the West were slow to listen to the lessons. “We are all human at a certain level and we tend to cherry pick that part of the information, which we find most reassuring,” he observed. Dr. David Nabarro, WHO Director-General’s Special Envoy on COVID-19, said that quick action will contain the virus. “If when a case arrives, you prevaricate, you’re half-hearted, you pretend it’s not real and you wait perhaps two, three, four weeks before you start to implement measures of any kind,” he warned, “what happens is that it basically doubles in scale every two to three days.”
Following the lead of Drs. Nabarro and Aylward, Co hosts Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman share their plan to offer regular episodes of the podcast that detail success in attacking the pandemic and share them widely while the lessons can make a difference.
David Nabarro is the Co-Director of the Imperial College Institute of Global Health Innovation at the Imperial College London and supports systems leadership for sustainable development through his Switzerland based social enterprise 4SD. From March 2020, David is appointed Special Envoy of WHO Director General on COVID-19. He secured his medical qualification in 1974 and has worked in over 50 countries – in communities and hospitals, governments, civil society, universities, and in United Nations (UN) programs. David worked for the British government in the 1990s as head of Health and Population and director for Human Development in the UK Department for International Development. From 1999 to 2017 he held leadership roles in the UN system on disease outbreaks and health issues, food insecurity and nutrition, climate change and sustainable development. In October 2018, David received the World Food Prize together with Lawrence Haddad for their leadership in raising the profile and building coalitions for action for better nutrition across the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Bruce Aylward is the Senior Advisor to the Director General, World Health Organization (WHO). Since September 2017, Dr Aylward has been serving as Senior Advisor to the WHO Director General and Director of the WHO Transformation. In this capacity he leads the team that is responsible for the design, coordination and implementation of a comprehensive reform of the organization, across its 7 Major Offices, 3 levels and more than 145 country offices, to deliver its new strategic plan and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). From August 2016 through August 2017, Dr Aylward worked with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), initially leading the inter-agency process that resulted in the first-ever system-wide activation procedures for major infectious disease emergencies, then establishing and leading OCHA’s Change Management Unit. In that role he took forward the recommendations of a wide-ranging functional review of OCHA to optimize its role, functions, structure and processes for the challenges of the 21st century.