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In New York they are shooting off fireworks to celebrate reopening. But in other parts of the world the coronavirus is continuing to spread, with lethal results. Public health workers are angry and frustrated. A senior official of the World Health Organization, Maria Van Kerkhove, says the world needs to pull together to use all available tools to curb the virus. “Right now the narrative is vaccines, vaccines, vaccines,” she said, “and while vaccines, vaccinations are an incredibly powerful tool, we’ve completely forgotten about everything else that works. And I feel that frustration.” 

In this episode, Public health experts in Botswana and Chile describe the continuing rampage of Covid-19 in their countries and Dr. David Nabarro, special Covid-19 Envoy of the WHO, criticizes leaders of the world’s most developed countries, the G7, for offering vaccines but not much else to the rest of the world at their just concluded summit. “It was a pretty bad outcome,” Dr.Nabarro said. “It was a lot of banging chests — “we’re good” — but not enough responsibility.” 

Co-host Edie Lush noted that a very similar criticism of the G7 could be made around their tepid response to climate change. Co-host Claudia Romo Edelman says she understands the desire to get back to living, but that this must happen in a globally conscious way.

Fact and Actions in this episode are presented by Regina Larko, founder and co-hot of the podcast, Hashtag Impact.We also feature another great Covid rock ballad by Nazeem.

Featured guests

David Nabarro

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, Mr. Nabarro is appointed Special Envoy of WHO Director General on COVID-19. 

In October 2018, he 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.

Maria Van Kerkhove

Dr. Van Kerkhove served as the liaison between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling. In this role, she developed projects to support WHO activities and policy decision making for influenza, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), yellow fever, Ebola and other emerging diseases. She and Centre staff continue to provide technical assistance to WHO (including to the Global Influenza Programme, the Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases Department, Initiative for Vaccine Research department and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network) through the interpretation of available global data, in collaboration with WHO’s member states, regional and country offices and internationally renowned scientists. The centre provides technical support in the areas of influenza, MERS-CoV, polio, malaria, yellow fever, cholera, hepatitis, HIV and meningitis.

Dr Van Kerkhove is also a member of the WHO Task Force for MERS-CoV.  Her work involves providing WHO with epidemiologic and statistical support for the analysis and interpretation of MERS-CoV data for risk assessments, web-based summaries and communications; the development of epidemiologic and serologic investigation protocols for MERS-CoV; and other publications on topics related MERS-CoV.

Rebecca Kanter

Rebecca Kanter, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Nutrition Department at the University of Chile. She was previously a research fellow at the University of Chile’s Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA). In 2014, Dr. Kanter was a visiting research fellow in the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) and with the Nutrition Group in the Department of Population Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Dr. Kanter’s current teaching and research focuses on the linkages between public health nutrition and agriculture. She takes great interest in the agri-health related risk factors for human health and public health nutrition, such as (obesogenic) food environments and gender disparities, particularly in Latin America. She has previously worked in Brazil, Mexico, and Guatemala and on many multi-Latin American country research studies. In 2012, she participated in the 6th Latin American Workshop in Leadership in Nutrition held by the Latin American Nutrition Society (SLAN). Dr. Kanter is also an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert on data management for developing countries.

Magen Mutepfa

Magen Mutepfa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Botswana. She teaches psychology and public health courses. She is a registered psychologist with more than 10 years of cross-discipline experience in psycho-therapy support services, more than 10 years of teaching experience, and has also worked as a Research Consultant for Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation (4 years). Her current research is on the Impact of health-related characteristics on Mental Health and Quality of Life (QOL) of older people in Botswana, and Personal and Family Coping with COVID-19 in Global South. She has published more than 42 articles in well-renown journals and books. She is the Botswana Liaison Officer for Pass It On Network, an organization accredited to the United Nations and a member of 4SD. She is also an Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Psychology in Africa and School Psychology Review Journal.

Regina Larko

Regina launched #impact Podcast in the spring of 2017. They feature inspirational, motivational, and impactful stories. The listeners of #impact Podcast are interested in social impact and sustainability initiatives. #impact Podcast tells impactful stories in a light, refreshing and inspirational way. Regina talks about the issues, but she also talks about solutions. #impact Podcast portrays individuals making a positive impact in the world. They talk about why and how they got started, the challenges along the way, and what keeps them going. Listeners feel inspired by the individuals that Regina and her co-hosts interview. Listeners feel empowered to create change. The podcast guests often find new volunteers and donors.

Today, Regina is a TEDx speaker. She has been named “10 Women who are shaping Hong Kong for the better”. Her work has been featured in radio, print, and online media. Regina is passionate about inspiring everyone to start making a positive impact. She also mentors aspiring podcasters, empowering them to find the confidence to get their voices heard.

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