Blog Global Health Center COVID-19

Trust and inequality: Insights into global health and COVID-19

Written by: Sherifat Adekanbi, MD candidate, Ponce Health Sciences University; and participant in the Institute for Public Heath Summer Research Program

As part of a seminar series of the Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program – Radiance track, I attended a global health overview presentation led by Mark Huffman MD, MPH. The presentation featured 10 essential public health functions according to the CDC, emphasizing their connection to how public health is implemented globally. This framework highlighted important areas such as surveillance, health promotion, and emergency response, all crucial for effective public health management.

During the presentation, there was a focus on the article Pandemic preparedness and COVID-19: an exploratory analysis of infection and fatality rates, and contextual factors associated with preparedness in 177 countries, from Jan. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021. The article examined how trust was more important than the preparedness for COVID-19 infections and vaccinations. One significant finding in managing the pandemic was the importance of trust in government and interpersonal relationships. Countries with higher income and levels of trust tended to have lower COVID-19 infection rates and higher vaccination rates.

Professor Huffman’s discussion really shed a light on the disparities in global health care systems, particularly regarding access and preparedness during the pandemic. The emphasis on trust as a crucial factor suggests that building public confidence and transparency in health-care systems is essential for effective pandemic response and overall public health resilience. Overall, Professor Huffman’s presentation provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities in global health, particularly in fostering health equity and improving health care distribution worldwide. This perspective is vital for future public health leaders striving to effectively address current and future global health challenges.