During our project, we all faced quarantine. We stayed in a new country, closed up, not by our own free will. Germany has all the conditions for volunteers who are on their projects. But there are countries where volunteers and people are not so comfortable. There are countries with which we volunteers must be in solidarity.
The reason is to be found in the constant underfunding of the medical sector.
The European authorities compared the current spending of national governments on the fight against coronavirus with the WHO recommendations and concluded that the current vulnerable position in which many European countries find themselves, could be due to short-term and long-term underfunding of medical systems.
The issue of countries' preparedness for health emergencies has been discussed at the level of global institutions for at least 10 years. In September 2019, the World Health Organization released another report on this topic, in which it stated that the vast majority of countries continue to neglect the costs of preparatory activities. According to WHO and World Bank estimates, states need to spend an average of $ 1-2 per person each year to minimize the potential for disease spread. Injecting $ 1.9-3.4 billion annually to strengthen veterinary and health services, the organizations have calculated, would help the world offset the $ 30 billion in damage.
Over the years, preventive action has become an increasingly important part of the management agenda for many countries. For example, in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam), even before the outbreak of coronavirus, a special project to increase preparedness for infectious diseases began to operate. But this is one of the few cases: most other countries, according to WHO, need more funding for preparatory programs. However, they need to be carefully differentiated from other aspects of health system strengthening. At the same time, WHO recognized that there are poor countries simply unable to independently ensure health security due to poor equipment with basic health infrastructure.
Contrary to warnings, the vast majority of countries did not meet the coronavirus pandemic in the best shape. The only exceptions, according to the OECD, were the states of Southeast Asia and Northern Europe. And if for the former, developed crisis response plans were of decisive importance, then the advantage of the latter was good financing of health systems, although it has decreased in the last 15 years. Thanks to this, Asian countries were able to achieve an extremely low incidence rate (on average, less than 1000 cases), and European countries - to provide their citizens with acceptable care in a situation of congestion of clinics.
Less well-to-do countries, if they had a comparable number of equipment and hospital beds, were significantly inferior in the quality of the medical care offered. In the current circumstances, OECD experts came to the conclusion that the main tactic to reduce the damage from the pandemic should be mass testing and icholization of people, especially those who came into contact with infected people. This helped the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova and others) to avoid a critical burden on their national health services. An important role in their case was also played by the increased flexibility of the infrastructure: the re-profiling of hospitals and the redistribution of doctors between them, as well as the accelerated training of new personnel, including the attraction of medical students. However, this does not negate the region's underfunding of health care, which could restrict citizens' access to a range of other health services once the impact of the coronavirus begins to wane. Per capita health spending in the region ranges from $ 400 to $ 1200 per person, well below the OECD average of $ 3994 in 2018.
The situation is noticeably worse in the Central Asian states, where annual health care costs average $ 740 per person. And even in Kazakhstan - the country with the largest funding for medicine in the region - the health sector lags far behind OECD standards. The high burden is historically shifted by the governments of these countries onto the shoulders of households, and in aggregate exceeds the size of the state budget for health care. The ratio of these indicators is one of the highest in the world.
It seems to me very important to be in solidarity with countries that do not have such an easy time at this time. It is important to get rid of a person in any given situation. On my project there is a girl from Moldova, who tells that people in her native village in Molodvia do not have enough money for masks. This is very sad. Because, until the antedot was invented, it would be wrong to say that we have defeated the pandemic. Therefore, I urge you to be in solidarity with all European countries.