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Strengthening Health Systems for Pandemic Preparedness and Other Emerging Challenges

February 6, 2024
Washington, DC and Online

VIDEO | FEB 06, 2024

While the world appears to have transitioned out of the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on society and health systems has been profound. In this talk, World Bank Lead Economist Damien de Walque will highlight and discuss some of the lessons learned through this crisis and the response to it. Stressing how beneficial the investments in health—including vaccination—have been during the pandemic, he will also place the disruption brought by COVID-19 in perspective with the current evolving burden of diseases in low- and middle-income countries.

Indeed, while COVID-19 reminded us of the world’s vulnerability to communicable diseases and while mortality and morbidity from maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases remain too high, especially in the poorest countries, the burden from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is growing. Each year, 17 million people die from a NCD before age 70 and 86% of these premature deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

In those countries, it is further estimated that 45% of all avertable deaths can be prevented by public health interventions, 23% are due to non-utilization of health services, and 32% are due to poor quality of care. These estimates raise questions about how best to focus investments to reinforce health systems that can address the changing burden of diseases, as well as confront future pandemics. Finding a balance between preparedness, prevention, access to treatment, and quality of care will be essential.


  • DATE: February 6, 2024
  • TIME: 12:30 - 2:00PM ET
  • LOCATION: MC Building (MC 13-121)
  • CONTACT: Michelle Chester