Credit: ‘Male teacher with mask in hallway’ by Alliance for Excellent Education via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0 DEED)

Key Issue Brief

Pandemic preparedness

Much has been learned from the Covid-19 pandemic around how the world can limit pandemic risks and respond more effectively. This will require ‘whole of government’ and ‘whole of society’ approaches which consider the intersecting precarities that affect people’s lives. It is in the mutual interest of all nations that preparedness is equitable to prevent some parts of the world from being left ill-equipped to respond to future crises.

This brief aims to provide rapid syntheses of a selection of recent relevant literature and international expert thinking in response to specific questions relating to international development.


Key Issues

Pandemic are social, economic and political

Globally, all facets of society – health, security, political, economic, and social – were negatively impacted by the pandemic, and this was felt more strongly by those already experiencing the greatest vulnerabilities.

The role of locally-led action is crucial

Grassroots community responses to Covid-19 and other epi/pandemics were able to augment or fill in gaps – or voids – of formal state responses to contain pathogens, and to mitigate the social and economic effects of the response measures.

Health systems and equity

Many researchers argue there has been an over reliance on global health security interventions for preparedness (e.g. early warning systems) and that there is a need for investment in fundamental universal health coverage interventions including primary health care, affordable medicines and supplies, accessible health facilities, and health workforce.

Trust has a critical role

Covid-19 has drawn renewed attention to the role of trust of populations in authorities and response actors. It has been recognised as critical to reducing infection rates and fatality ratios and increasing Covid-19 vaccination uptake.

Governance models matter

The pandemic has highlighted the inadequacy of governance frameworks for preventing and managing epi/pandemic disease.

Catherine Grant
Tabitha Hrynick