MM Switzerland | The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the global health landscape. The pandemic is significantly reshaping health systems and policies and the way in which organisations involved in international health cooperation are operating.

Since 2015, the international community has been working towards implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which is designed to pre-empt, tackle and solve the exact system failures, inequalities and disparities that have been laid bare by the global COVID-19 pandemic. An acknowledgement of inadequate health systems, unequal wealth distribution, hunger, the climate crisis, gender inequalities and inequities led the international community to universally adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and embrace the principle to ‘leave no one behind’.

The pandemic has made it clear that achieving the 2030 Agenda’s goals and targets will be even more challenging than anticipated. The effects of COVID-19 have set back progress in many countries, erasing hard-won gains. As the World Bank Group reported earlier this year , for the first time in two decades there is likely to be a significant increase in poverty as tens of millions of people slip back down the economic ladder.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the longstanding structural drivers of health inequities, such as precarious and adverse working conditions, growing economic disparities and anti-democratic political processes and institutions. These key determinants of health have become interlinked with class, ethnicity, gender, level of education and other factors during the pandemic, exacerbating existing social vulnerabilities in societies.

This is why the Alma-Ata declaration and the principle of ‘Health for All’ must be at the heart of the fight against the pandemic as well as the international treaty on pandemic prevention and preparedness which will be discussed at the Special Session of the World Health Assembly in November 2021.

Understanding what a post-COVID world could look like requires us to examine the key structural determinants that have contributed to the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on marginalised and other groups, beyond the proximate drivers of the current crisis. Interventions to systematically tackle the increasing conditions of vulnerability would contribute towards a fairer and more sustainable world.

This year, the MMS Symposium will focus on:

  • Understanding how COVID-19 has and continues to influence health, health systems and global health and the way we work within it.
  • Learning how to positively influence the disruption of health services and how to keep human rights on the political agenda.
  • Debating and Exchanging ideas about the importance of grasping this momentum to emphasise the role Switzerland can play in global health in the post-COVID world.


MMS Symposium, 3 November 2021, 9:00 – 2:30 hrs CET
Website: here