Community is key in beating COVID-19

12 June 2020

The impact of COVID-19 has exposed the inequalities across our communities and society, experts have warned.

ANU expert Associate Professor Kamalini Lokuge highlighted the importance of communities during a panel on global public health as part of the 2020 ANU Crawford Australian Leadership Forum.

"The problems with equity and equality are what we need to be conscious of," Professor Lokuge said.

"How you take care of the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups needs to be addressed the next time something like this happens."

The panel included former Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott, Professor Tikki Pangestu from the National University of Singapore and Amanda Glassman from the Centre for Global Development.

The need for healthcare systems to better cater to all areas of the community was the highlight of the forum.

The panellists said COVID-19 responses that failed to account for societal vulnerabilities was a major flaw.

"Inequality is a real determinate of where this pandemic continues to move," The Honourable Jane Philpott said.

The strength of communities' belief in and support for interventions was another key topic for how to further combat COVID.

"Trust is an important component of communities successfully combating a pandemic,

"People who believe in their communities and see their role as protecting their community will have the best response.

"The distribution of the vaccine has to be built on a foundation of equitable healthcare and trust," Professor Lokuge said.

Catch up on the full panel here.