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Never has the importance of access to medicines for everyone, everywhere been more self-evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic. With it has come a shift have not only shifted what we’ve been working on, but how we’ve been working on it.
We’ve worked closely with our partners and donors, both locally and internationally, to ensure we are advocating for access to medicines in the most efficient and effective way possible. This has included using multiple channels, platforms and methods to communicate our message to the right people.
Although our team are working from their homes in the Netherlands (and the UK, Spain, Israel, and briefly Australia), we have continued to come together online to ensure equitable access to medicines is achieved at a time when it this is more relevant and important than ever before.
HAI during COVID-19
Executive Director, Dr Tim Reed, discussed HAI in the time of COVID-19, including the impact on us in practical terms and the impact on our work programmes, in particular as a result of social distancing measures for our partners in the South. Additionally, Tim discussed COVID-19 and governments’ response as a social determinant of health, support for WHO and how HAI is adjusting to the reality of COVID-19 in framing programmes.
Reflections on the World Health Assembly
Health Action International Executive Director, Dr Tim Reed, followed the unprecedented virtual World Health Assembly with great interest. We asked Tim for some of his main takeaways from the two days of discussion, the response to COVID-19 and the role of civil society.
In defence of WHO
It’s very easy to take a pop at the World Health Organization. We do it ourselves – the overheads, the salaries, the business class travel (the fact that as a UN organisation their official language is UK English, but there’s a ‘z’ in their name!). But most of that is anecdotal, old news or just sour grapes. The truth is, it is too easy to sling mud, and we work with amazing people across the WHO, at HQ and in-country, where we find dedicated, professional and passionate advocates for public health. You just need to know where to look.
Health Action International Working from Home
Following the advice of the Dutch Government, Health Action International began working from home from mid-March 2020.
We are very much aware that we are privileged in being able to work from home with minimal disruption to our daily work. This is not the experience of many, especially our colleagues in low- and middle-income countries, which our colleagues have discussed here and here.
For the most part, this has been an unusual shift for many in the team as we enjoy being together in the office. But we are also used to working remotely, on travel duty or from home, so the team has quickly adapted and have remained connected throughout this unfamiliar period.
Every project within Health Action International has had to adapt over the last few months. Learn about the ways in which each of our projects, and the organisation as a whole, have shifted and responded to the ongoing pandemic that continues to impact access to medicines for everyone, everywhere.