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    The Back to Health: Making Up for Lost Time event was hosted by Project Syndicate on 23 June 2021.

    The COVID-19 crisis has revealed inequalities that will have to be addressed in order to build more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive societies. The pandemic has shown us that inadequate public health capacity in one place can become a problem for people everywhere. And it has reminded us that the poorest and most vulnerable bear the brunt of our collective failures.

    It is critical that these communities be at the heart of our recovery efforts. Crises can be occasions to start anew, rethink old assumptions, and leverage human ingenuity and creativity. However, the pandemic has set back the sustainable development agenda. By highlighting issues that can no longer be ignored, and by restoring science to its proper place at the centre of our decision-making processes, the crisis can – and must – serve as a wake-up call.

    At this event on global health and development, leading experts examined the immediate legacy of the pandemic and explored solutions for building a healthier, more equitable future. Speakers included Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Executive Director of UNAIDS Winnie Byanyima, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband, Former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard, Nobel laureate economist Angus Deaton and President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer.

    Watch the event

    President Hoyer’s message to the Back to Health event


    Far from being a “black swan” event, the COVID-19 pandemic was not only foreseeable but actually foreseen by public health experts. What will it take to ensure that this tragic episode is never repeated?

    3:00PM – Opening Remarks: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization

    3:05PM – Panel Discussion and Q&A with International Media:

    • Agnes Binagwaho, Former Minister of Health of Rwanda, Vice Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity
    • Sally Davies, UK Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
    • David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee

    3:55PM – Closing Remarks: Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

    4:00PM – Closing Remarks: Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Director-General of the World Health Organization, Member of The Elders

    4:05PM – Break

    Although the idea of universal health coverage is simple, achieving it will be neither easy nor straightforward. How and to what extent should this principle be factored into the broader economic development strategy for low- and middle-income countries after the pandemic?

    4:20PM – Opening Remarks: Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank

    4:25PM – Panel Discussion and Q&A with International Media: 

    • Ann Aerts, Head of the Novartis Foundation
    • Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS
    • Angus Deaton, Nobel laureate in economics
    • Carl Manlan, COO of the Ecobank Foundation

    5:15PM – Closing Remarks: Julia Gillard, Former Prime Minister of Australia, Chair of Wellcome