Regional Cooperation is essential to combatting Health Emergencies in the Global South

Publication Date: 
25 January 2021
BMC, Part of Springer Nature
Publication Language: 
Appearing in: 
Globalization and Health

Since COVID-19 was first discovered, it exploded into a pandemic resulting in devastating effects on human lives and a global recession. While there have been discussions that COVID-19 will accelerate the ‘end of globalization and multilateralism’, we have already seen the high costs of non-cooperation in responding to the virus resulting in sub-optimal use of resources, rapid spread of the virus between countries, and, ultimately, significant loss of life. In spite of their favorable demographic structures and relatively young populations, countries in the Global South are still harshly affected in both epidemiological and economic terms. Nations must find innovative ways to address health concerns and regional bodies are possible mechanisms for facilitating international cooperation on health. We delineate how regional organizations can support how countries address health threats namely by serving as a bridge between the global and national policy levels; strengthening disease surveillance; mobilizing supply chains and facilitating trade; supporting the production and procurement of medicines and supplies; and coordinating policies and work with other actors. We finalize by arguing that mechanisms for regional cooperation must be strengthened themselves in order to effectively contribute to positive health outcomes within member states.