Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP): a promising human rights approach

by Katrina Perehudoff, Jennifer Sellin

How do we guarantee access to Covid-19 vaccines and therapies, and secure health-related human rights for all? We’ve heard a string of promises in the race for new vaccines and therapies. European governments, Australia, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and othershave pledged US$10.5 billion to develop vaccines and health products against Covid-19. Some world leaders promised that these products will be ‘global public goods’. How this will be realized is not (yet) clear….

Under international law the 170 states that haveratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rightsare committed to taking steps to guarantee affordable essential medicines for all….

Health and Human Rights Journal: Blog, 4 June 2020 ; VISUAL and see also World Health Organization, Commitments to share knowledge, intellectual property and data


Challenges for the female academic during the Covid-19 pandemic

The Lancet, by Brooke Peterson Gabster, Kim van Daalen, Roopa Dhatt, Michele Berry, 18 June 2020

Women comprise 70% of the global health workforce and more than 50% of medical graduates in many countries. Despite this, women and gender minorities remain underrepresented in medical leadership…. Early data show that Covid-19 significantly affects women’s publishing…. The academic community, funders, and health professionals should support women in academia during this pandemic (and beyond). First, recognise that women are probably taking on more responsibilities than men are. Help families access safe childcare, and provide options for academics caring for family members, by considering the lockdown period as care leave so decreases in productivity do not hinder later career advancement. Second, recognise how gender bias influences selection and evaluation of scientific experts and leaders during times of crisis. Women make up just 24% of Covid-19 experts quoted in the media and 24·3% of national task forces analysed (n=24).However, countries with female leaders have some of the best Covid-19 outcomes.Amplify the voices of women with established records in infectious disease, pandemic response, global health, and health security. Third, collect and report institutional data on gender representation, including academic output and senior positions…. Finally, and most importantly, recognise that women from ethnic minority groups face additional challenges in academia, and take structural action to provide support and address these challenges.


Men’s health: Covid-19 pandemic highlights need for overdue policy action

by Peter Baker, Alan White, Rosemary Morgan

The Lancet 20 June 2020;395(10241):1886-88

The Covid-19 pandemic is shining a cruel light on the state of men’s health globally. In 38 out of 43 countries for which provisional data were available, as of June 10, 2020, more men than women have died from Covid-19 despite a similar number of confirmed cases in each sex. In several countries, including the Netherlands, Dominican Republic, and Spain, about twice as many men as women have died from Covid-19. International Men’s Health Week on June 15–21 is an opportune time to focus attention on this issue and the need for a new and systematic approach to improve the health of men generally.

Men and women are differentially affected by Covid-19. Although more men are dying from Covid-19, women are also substantially impacted by the disease. Their role as health workers and carers puts them at risk of infection, they have paid a heavy price economically and in terms of increased domestic burdens, and they have been even more likely than usual to experience domestic violence during lockdown. An equal role for women in global health leadership is required to ensure that their needs are included in policy. The differential harmful effects of the pandemic on gender and racial minorities must also be recognised….

Men’s lower immune responses combined with gendered practices and behaviours related to masculinity, including smoking and drinking, engaging less in preventive public health measures such as mask-wearing or handwashing, and delayed health-care seeking, could contribute to men’s vulnerability…. The higher prevalence of pre-existing comorbidities in men than in women, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension, is also likely to be a factor….An analysis of 35 national health policies in the WHO European Region member states, for example, found that the term “men’s health” appeared once…. A WHO and UNAIDS review of national policies on health, HIV, sexual and reproductive health, and mental health in 14 countries in eastern and southern Africa found that the health of men and boys was well addressed in the health policy of only one country, eSwatini….

Thankfully, there has been some progress. The WHO European Region published a men’s health strategy for its 53 member states in 2018. Four countries – Australia, Brazil, Iran, and Ireland – have national men’s health policies that seek to promote optimum health and wellbeing for men, with a particular focus on health equity between different population groups of men….