Hello From The Other Side: Let’s Talk Health Crisis In Emerging Markets

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We’re going LIVE! Join our CEO, Anna-Marie Wascher & CIO, Kate Starr tomorrow, Thursday 2nd April at 12:30pm ET for an interactive session on Timely Topics. While we all get used to the new reality and way of being, it has never been more important to find ways to interact. Community is vital to our personal, professional and emotional well-being and as our clients, partners and allies, we’re here for you during this uncertainty. As such, we want to use this time to connect, share ideas and insights, ask questions, and create a shared experience discussing various topics that we all deeply care about. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow via this zoom link!

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The COVID-19 pandemic has largely been a developed country phenomenon — despite its origins in Wuhan. Of the 25 countries with the highest number of cases, all but four are from the developed world, according to a dashboard maintained by Johns Hopkins University. From the US point of view, public life has shut down– New York City has empty streets. The scene of the USNS Comfort arriving in New York Harbor to provide relief to the city’s besieged health system, as it has after the earthquake in Haiti and after Hurricane Katrina, was cinematic.

But the pandemic is now poised to detonate in the developing world — which has far less capacity to combat the virus on both the health and economic front. The slowdown of consumption, manufacturing, travel, and trade will be a blow to emerging economies’ balance sheets. Income losses are expected to exceed $220 billion in developing countries (excluding China), according to UNDP. Loss of life to the pandemic will be exacerbated by the difficulty to obtain food and water in a socially distanced way. Unlike Americans, many people around the world do not have refrigeration, much less surplus refrigeration to house several days or weeks’ worth of food. The IMF said emerging market countries will need at least $2.5 trillion in financial resources to get through the crisis, and their own internal reserves and market borrowing capacity will fall short of meeting this need.

Under-resourced hospitals and fragile health systems are likely to be overwhelmed. The ability to treat severe forms of COVID-19 will depend on the availability of ventilators, electricity, and oxygen. To exemplify the discrepancy, Uganda has 0.1 ICU beds/100,000 population, while the United States has 34.7 beds/100,000 population. The high prevalence of malnutrition, anemia, malaria, HIV/AIDs, and tuberculosis — makes the situation in Africa even more challenging despite the median age of a 1.3 billion population of 19.7 years. The continent is also experiencing the double burden of diseases: in addition to endemic infectious diseases, health systems in Africa are facing increasing non-communicable diseases like diabetes.

Measures imposed in wealthier countries to “flatten the curve” of infection are harder to implement. Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, particularly in rural areas of South Asia and Africa, is not a simple order. Nearly 2.2 billion people are currently living without safely managed water outlets. In Least Developed Countries 22% of health care facilities have no water service. While responses have been national thus far, our hope is that a more global coordinated response can follow — assuming effective containment measures in already afflicted countries. This includes rallying global production of medical equipment and the sharing of expertise, while at the same time supporting economic financing packages to soften the economic burden. No better time for the United Nations to provide leadership in the face of this global affliction.

As it’s been said, coronavirus knows no borders.

Derek Brooks, Vice President, Investment

BODYSPHERE announced today they are distributing a new Two-Minute Testing Kit for the diagnosis of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The FDA issued Emergency Use Authorization for the test which uses antibodies in blood to test for current or past infection.

Have a talent for sewing? Perhaps making masks can be your new stay at home hobby. These cotton masks and mask covers, made mostly of cotton and elastic, aren’t a substitute for N95 respirators, but rather free up the surgical masks for the highest-risk people in the shortage.

In the US people cleared supermarket shelves of toilet paper. Meanwhile — others in southern Europe and some of the developing world did not join the rush, secured by their bidet toilets and bidet showerheads. Why have Americans avoided this 17th-century European innovation perfected by the Japanese?

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