The Transnational Law Institute, King’s Global Health Institute, and the department of Global Health and Social Medicine at King's College London are proud to announce a new seminar series for 2020/21. Particular thanks goes to series coordinators Dr Octavio Ferraz, Dr Sridhar Venkatapuram and Dr Gry Wester.
This series of seminars will examine the ethical, legal and policy challenges and implications of addressing the current COVID-19 crisis in a world of high socioeconomic inequality.
Public health recommendations on how to respond to pandemics are, on the surface, simple and clear: find, test, isolate, impose quarantines and lockdown. The WHO - International Health Regulations of 2005, a binding international treaty with the participation of 196 countries, sets out this general framework of measures that countries are under an obligation to implement. As WHO Director General Dr Tedros recently put it: “One of the most fundamental ingredients for stopping this virus is determination and willingness to make hard choices to keep ourselves and each other safe”. (WHO Press Conference, 27.7.2020)
Little consideration is given, however, to socioeconomic factors that significantly affect the capacity of countries to implement these measures, even when the political will is present to do so. Such factors go a long way in explaining the significantly differential impact of the pandemics across and within countries, such as widely reported higher infection and death rates, as well as economic hardship, among certain groups of the population.
As we are clearly not “all in this together” in many respects - even if it is true that the virus itself “respects no borders, gender, race etc.” - it is important to critically analyse the current framework of responding to pandemics with a view to improving it for a future where such events seem significantly more likely.
This debate requires the participation not only of public health experts, but also ethicists, lawyers, economists and representatives of many other disciplines of the social sciences.
Please note that you must register separately for each session you wish to attend (available at the end of this page). Event recordings are available below.
The series has been organised by The Transnational Law Institute at Dickson Poon School of Law (King’s College London), King’s Global Health Institute, and the department of Global Health and Social Medicine.