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10 Global Health Issues to Track in 2021

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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WHO News Desk

2020 was a devastating year for global health. A previously unknown virus raced around the world, rapidly emerging as one of its top killers, laying bare the inadequacies of health systems. Today, health services in all regions are struggling to both tackle COVID-19, and provide people with vital care.

In another blow, the pandemic threatens to set back hard-won global health progress achieved over the past two decades – in fighting infectious diseases, for example, and improving maternal and child health.

So in 2021, countries around the world will need to continue battle COVID-19 (albeit with the knowledge that effective tools are evolving). They will need to move swiftly to repair and reinforce their health systems so they can deliver these tools, and to address the key societal and environmental issues that result in some sections of the population suffering so much more than others.

WHO and its partners will be at their side. We will work to help countries strengthen preparedness for pandemics and other emergencies. We will remind them of the importance of bringing countries together and of involving the whole government, not just the health sector. And we will support them in building strong health systems and healthy populations 

Here are 10 ways we will do this:

  1. Build global solidarity for worldwide health security
  2. Speed up access to COVID-19 tests, medicines and vaccines
  3. Advance health for all
  4. Tackling health inequities
  5. Provide global leadership on science and data
  6. Revitalize efforts to tackle communicable diseases
  7. Combat drug resistance
  8. Prevent and treat NCDs and mental health conditions
  9. Build back better
  10. Act in solidarity


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