When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, it rattled the economies and exposed the bad parts of the healthcare systems around the world. 21st Century has all been about making economies strong and a cat-race towards achieving the same. Many experts say that wealth equals health, but there is so much error in this belief. For long, businesses and governments have focused on the lines on the chart of GDP, but they solemnly ignore the most important tool, that is our healthcare system, which is always needed in any kind of crisis. The neoliberal ideology has led us to believe that economic prosperity would offer the masses health, but in fact, it has mostly merely made the wealthy richer and the poor poor poor poorer. Many times proved by different crises and pandemics that the good health of the public depends on strong healthcare systems and not economic growth.
During this current COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing the most developed countries like France, The USA, Spain, Italy, and Europe with a great economic structure have been hit the worse and having the lines on their cases of coronavirus going up every day just like their GDP charts. So does that mean that boosting the economy safeguards their public health? The Preston Curve which says life expectancy as an indicator for health swiftly ignores the fact and WHO definition that “being healthy doesn’t merely mean the absence of disease but also a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”. Health is so much more about the candles on the birthday cake, it is about nutrition, literacy, the well-being of mental health and not surviving but also living life. Economic supporters merely focus on the point that if a person is wealthy, he is automatically healthy. Citizens in affluent countries prefer to live longer than in poorer nations-but only to a certain degree. Life expectancy leveled out after a certain amount of GDP.
COVID-19 is again banging the doors of nations, giving out the same message which past pandemics and crises gave but failed. That is – Wealth is worthless without a clear public health agenda and policies at the center of our social and economic structures. COVID-19 is a sharp reminder that it is not the rich that can pull us through when push comes to shove. It is our health care system: health care staff, hospitals with long-needed upgrades, and services with chronically underfunded money.
In a post-pandemic world faced with the possibility of a potential recession, there will be a crucial study of our preparedness, our reaction, and what it means about societies. Should we be content with the status quo of economic growth for growth’s sake, or do we demand economic recovery that also allows for true wellness – the state of full wellbeing the keeps eluding us? Are we going to suggest that government investment in economic projects should also often turn into our public health expenditure? Or are we going to return to the way we were, Where much-needed hospital advancements take a back seat to bureaucratic processes and personal interests?