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Starting drawing lessons from COVID19, and the history of pandemics in general

When most of us were born, we found that the countries of the world were divided into 2 big groups that were still so distinguished at different levels such as the kind of life their populations must live, the decisions these countries should take, life expectancy, human right and many other aspects of development. Some were called poor and underdeveloped, which could explain all episodes of malaria, diarrhea that some of us had before we attain 10 years of age, hunger and other horrible patterns of life that most of our families like many other families in the global south were going through.

Later, this category of poor countries were called “developing countries to recognize the efforts however little that were being put by them and their partners in getting to development and regardless of the pace of the process to development. Today, this categorization is broken down into now three groups: Low income, Middle Income and high Income countries. This categorization is based on economy and has a lot more to do with the life we live, how long we are expected to live, types of health problems we are supposed to face, how much we should spend on our health and education and most importantly what ambitions the country leaders are expected to or should have. This categorization again as endorsed and supported by the Word Bank, IMF, the United Nations and its institutions such as the WHO and UNICEF, has created a routine in how countries are managed which ended up putting low income countries in more comfort zones than the high income countries, as the latter bear in mind that they have additional obligations not only on their own problems but also on the problems that threaten the low and middle income countries (LMIC).

With the history of pandemics especially the current COVID19, this type of categorization looks a little bit defied. As of now, we know that pandemics are capable of coming from any place of the world regardless of the country economic category and expectations in terms of development. But nevertheless, we have more often seen high income countries being hit to the same extent if not harder than the poor countries. Such events show clearly that in some circumstances, low income countries have to walk alone and take their own decisions and pressing responsibilities as they are not the only ones facing challenges that require urgent response. So far some lessons can be learnt that focus on the developing world mainly and the big decisions that they must take. In this series, the Stansile Global Health Community will be discussing some of these lessons that we can start learning from not only COVID19 pandemic but all the pandemics in general.

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