Health as wellbeing?
Many would argue that the title question of this piece is non-sensical; of course, health is wellbeing. Humanity has fared many pandemics, yet what makes Covid19 different? There are two factors that I consider to be vital for human survival science ethics and a sense of solidarity. Vaccine production and local healthcare resource optimisation would be impossible without these two factors.
World over, few governments fared as effectively as the Chinese government imposing unfathomable quarantines, unthinkable to our western liberal values. They did live covid free while many nations lost their loved ones, although the covid-zero policy is proving useless because “life” always finds a way. The toll of deaths per capita is well below our democratic nations. The lack of preparedness for the pandemic was evident; no country, not even China, had enough supplies to go through such a traumatic world event. Moreover, western nations, especially Latin American ones, had no systemic system to respond to such a nightmare.
Global institutions proved to be symbolic and non-operational. From the pandemic's start, few actionable items were available for these institutions. Mr Bill Gates knew clearly that the correct institutional framework was not open, and many would suffer greatly. It is not only how you communicate what you think but how you make things actionable. Anyone can have an idea … yet… few make them tangible. Although even within international institutions such as the World Health Organisation, there were multiple voices and dissent… several regional bodies in public agreed while bolstering irrational, politically driven agendas. Therefore, if it were not for a sense of global solidarity and one firm conviction towards science and how this was a common threat to human survival… politics would’ve won instead of life.
While the virus extended its tentacles through our species, our natural defence system … scientists and medics never wavered. Scientists worldwide worked on the Chinese sequencing and warning of COVID19, pushing forth the well-oiled and effective global pharmaceutical industry. Multiple proofs of concepts and trials began to fight with vaccines and pharmaceuticals the not-mutating Covid19 virus. Countries began to support local efforts, whilst not all; for example, Germany did not support its own Max Planck institute. Yet, most scientists held meetings with doctors throughout several cooperation groups. Active Chinese cities pushed forth their data and exchanged world-over… it was not on whether we were camp blue or red… it was about fighting for survival.
Scientists and physicians understand very well that life has finitude. Their work ethic and sense of solidarity with their communities left several colleagues to give up their lives to care for others. Nurses constantly tended to overcrowded covid wards where they became overwhelmed by non-believers… as those of us who believed in science and medicine pushed forth multiple bets of a wide array of vaccines and treatments. All of them are appropriately aligned with international clinical trial standards.
After such dire and dark times, a new breed of humans evolved from the hermitage. Those who don’t take for granted their loved ones, their freedom and much less… their health. Where will we move forward? I’m not sure, but healthcare has become the battleground for our liberal values of equality and freedom. Improvised leadership has proven its cost in deaths; numbers and people’s broken hearts remain.
Health as wellbeing