COVID-19: Can this crisis be transformative for global health?
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The UN has described the health, social and economic consequences of Covid-19 as a global crisis unlike any other encountered in its history. Although a pandemic of this nature was not unforeseeable, its arrival seems to have caught the world off guard, hurling us into a state of partly haphazard disaster mitigation. It has shed sharper light on the failure of global health in its current form to tackle acute and systemic challenges in a rapidly changing world, and the unequal patterns in society that leave us vulnerable. This commentary argues that, despite its devastating effects, the Covid-19 pandemic can be a longer-term positively transformative event for global health. However, this will require going beyond the development of more effective plans for health emergency preparedness, to confront the crisis in global health governance and leadership, and rethink the roles of key actors involved in world health. It ultimately calls us back to the very concept of ‘global health’: the values it should encompass, what we should expect from it and how we might envisage reshaping or ‘co-creating’ it for the future.