Trust, not force, will make people follow rules, says author
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Mentioning that pandemic control measures had become more law enforcing than public health in many countries, Jonathan D Quick, the author of “ The End of Epidemics: The Looming Threat to Humanity and How to Stop It”, said this should not be the case and force should be the last resort.
“Most people, when provided with correct information, form trust. When people get to know the things from the people they trust, they will follow the guidelines. But the trusted leaders should have a plan first. No vaccine is perfect, no medicine is perfect, but being transparent is more important as it will take us forward,” said Quick.
Quick, who was conversing with Rema Nagarajan at Times LitFest, had written the book in 2018, much before the pandemic struck. He warned people of the looming threat, but said a lot of his warnings were let go.
Highlighting what went wrong, he said there should be a universal health vision that everyone could access. “Achieving it requires two things, financing and a delivery system. Countries have achieved it in different ways with different combinations. Financing may vary, but the key thing is you have to be sure that everybody is included. What doesn’t work, and is deadly, is when you leave it to individuals to pay the entire cost. Financing can be a mix of taxes and employers,” added Quick.
Asked why the US, which spends the most on health, did so badly, Quick said that money was not the only aspect to deal with a pandemic effectively. “It’s more about how and where you spend it. We need to invest in three things first — a universal health coverage programme, public health services such as water and pandemic preparedness, and medicines. The US has been spending a lot on the curative part and has underfunded the prevention for years. Spending on prevention is cheaper than spending on cure,” he added.
“South Korea, Australia, Norway, Germany, all have strong universal public health programmes. They understand the importance of keeping communities safe. The governments need to be clear about what is at stake. The first step should be to vaccinate frontline workers, which will be better for every country’s economy. But that is not happening because there has been no global, unified political leadership. Leaders have to come together to protect our interests,” said the author.
Quick said, most governments launched apps for public surveillance, at times at the cost of privacy. “But collective long-term welfare is more important than individual short-term freedom. Saying that, we also need to progress on technology to limit privacy threats,” he added.
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