Equitable recovery from COVID-19: Bring global commitments to community level

Rene Loewenson* (Corresponding Author), Lucia D'Ambruoso, Duong Minh Duc, Reidar Hjermann, Winfred Lichuma, Elizabeth Mason, Elizabeth Nixon, Norma Rudolph, Eugenio Villar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


High level speakers at the December 2020 United Nations General Assembly pointed to the growing inequalities and stress to health, social, economic and democratic systems caused by COVID-19, calling for a range of collective interest driven responses and measures for a sustainable recovery.

The pandemic, lockdown and other responses, along with underfunded, poorly prepared and overstretched public sector social and health systems in many countries worsened many dimensions of family, women’s, child and adolescent health and well-being that were already facing deficits, generating a rising health and social debt in communities, the true scale and long-term consequences of which are as yet unknown, especially for the most marginalised in society.

Rather than ‘getting back to normal’, recovery and ‘reset’ demands change to tackle the inequalities, conditions, services, socioeconomic and environmental policies that made people susceptible and vulnerable to COVID-19.

While economic recovery should not replicate the features of the global economy that are generating pandemic and other crises, for global aspirations to translate into benefit for communities, families, young people and children, an equitable recovery should include significant investment in: (1) universal, public sector, primary health care-oriented health services; (2) redistributive, universal rights-based and life course based social protection; and (3) people, especially in early childhood and in youth, as drivers of change.

Who designs the ‘reset’ influences the change, and within countries and internationally, opportunities must be provided for meaningful public engagement as a critical driver of an equitable recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere004757
Number of pages4
JournalBMJ Global Health
Issue number1
Early online date17 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2021


  • COVID-19
  • health policy
  • public health


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