Gender-responsive Recovery from COVID-19 in Europe

A webinar to evaluate response plans, public health measures and the need for robust policies in support of women’s empowerment during pandemics

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Women in Global Health (WGH) Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Ireland in collaboration with the Centre for Global Health at UiO, invites you to join this webinar on COVID-19 preparedness, response plans, as well as the public health, social and economic measures within respective countries through a gender-lens.

Objectives

  • Reflect on the different responses and their impact on COVID-19 within European countries and discuss the different measures implemented and their rationale.
  • Share knowledge about public health measures, including gender responsiveness, and translate that knowledge into strategic and policy actions that has guided the efforts 
  • Discuss the need for an integrated response agenda and gender tailored policies in support for context-specific national and regional operational plans. 
  • Reflect on the significance of a gender-sensitive approach to COVID-19 and gender and public health issues that has arose during the pandemic and how we can prevent them to protect and sustain gender equality.
  • Discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected gender equality and women’s empowerment during the pandemic.

Panelists

Frode Forland | Norway

Frode Forland is the Specialist Director of Infectious Disease Prevention and Control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), where he is part of the Corona response leadership group with a responsibility for county and municipal services, advice, global health issues and media. With a background as a medical doctor with specialty degrees in General Practice and Public Health, Frode has several years of experience working with and leading initiatives on capacity building for health security and evidence-based medicine internationally in high, as well as low- and middle-income countries.

Karin Tegmark Wisell | Sweden

Karin Tegmark Wisell is a medical doctor and microbiologist with a PhD in clinical bacteriology. As of November 2021, she is Director-General of the Swedish Public Health Agency with extensive experience of national leadership during the pandemic as the former assistant State Epidemiologist and Chief of the Microbiology Department. Prior to her current position, she worked on a national level with antibiotic resistance and public health at the Swedish Public Health Agency.

Fréderique Jacquerioz | Switzerland

Fréderique Jacquerioz is a Swiss trained-physician with residencies in internal medicine and in tropical and travel health, and a master’s degree in public health. She has extensive clinical and public health experience in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. From May 2014 to December 2015, she served as WHO consultant to provide technical support during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. From 2015, she worked as attending physician for vulnerable populations including undocumented migrants in the service of primary care medicine at the Geneva University Hospitals. Since January 2020, she joined the hospital task force for COVID-19 and focus her clinical and public health activities on COVID-19 as head of the hospital testing and vaccination centres.

Helena Legido-Quigley | Spain

Helena Legido-Quigley is the Editor-in-chief of Elsevier's Journal of Migration and Health and has contributed to and analyzed the global public health response to coronavirus disease. Legido-Quigley has worked to analyse the public health responses of different countries, looking to establish best practice and better inform future strategies. She has also been involved with analysis of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Asia and Europe with her work being published in the Lancet, Nature Medicine and the BMJ among other journals. She was a member of the Secretariat of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, and she is currently a member of the WHO high-level European expert group proposing a roadmap towards stabilization of the COVID-19 pandemic in the European region.

Annette Kennedy | Ireland

Annette Kennedy is a nurse and midwife with a MSc in Public Sector Analysis. She has an extensive background in health leadership, working as the director of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and having served as President of the European Federation of Nurses and as President of the International Council of Nurses representing 27 million nurses globally. Kennedy also has experience working as a Commissioner for the WHO Independent High –Level Commission on non-communicable diseases and is currently a member of Women in Global Health Ireland advisory group. Annette was awarded a Global Health Leadership Award from WHO for leadership in global health and service to nurses.

Iris Hunger | Germany – Robert Koch-Institute

Moderator

Peter Friberg

Peter Friberg is a Professor at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg and senior consultant at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. He is the co-founder and Director of SIGHT, and the former president of the Swedish society of medicine, member of the committee for development research of the Swedish Research Council and chairperson of the health promotion and behavior panel at Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare. His research is focused on the cardiovascular and psychosocial field, including joint research performance with African Population Health Research Center.

Background

As of March 11th, 2022, two full years have passed since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (1). Since then, European countries have seen a widespread community transmission of COVID-19, with many implementing extensive public health, societal and economic measures, to flatten the epidemic curve and slow down the spread of the virus (2). Many European countries have had similar strategies during the pandemic with early applied extensive public health and economic measures, and extraordinary societal restrictions (3-5).

The COVID-19 crisis underscores the reliance on women in societies, on the front lines of healthcare, in the workplace more generally, and at home, while simultaneously exposing structural inequities across every sphere, from health to the economy and security to social protection. However, times of crisis see women, children and adolescents placed at particular risk, as resources are constrained, and institutional capacity is limited. This has led to the risk of reversal of positive developments seen over the past decades (6). For example, we have seen a loss of economic opportunities due to women taking on more domestic and care work in the health sector and at home, and increased risk of violence. Furthermore, with constrained budgets, governments are making difficult choices to deprioritize investments in essential health services in favor of procurement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and other tools and services, potentially overlooking the application of gender-responsive budgeting tools (7) and forgoing the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) to be adapted to women (8).

Now, Members of the European Council have called for preparing the measures necessary to return societies and economies in Europe to a normal functioning and to sustainable growth. However, responding to the pandemic is not just about rectifying long-standing inequalities, but also about building a resilient society during recovery. It requires tailored policies and resources that support gender equality and women’s empowerment. It also means including women in leadership and decision making in all aspects of the recovery, which was sorely missing over the past two years (9).

With two full years of experience with COVID-19, Women in Global Health (WGH) will once again want to take a critical gender lens through a panel of professionals representing European countries, to share learning across country borders that may inform and improve future pandemic strategies, in Europe and globally. The panelists will evaluate response strategies further using additional data and knowledge on how to recover in a gender-responsive way. This will be a follow-up discussion to the first webinar that took place in May 2020 (First webinar (recording available): Europe’s Strategy to Fight COVID-19: Reflections on Different Response Strategies).

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References

  1. WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID19 -March 2020. World Health Organization (WHO)  (Press release). 11 March 2020. Available here.
  2. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Strategies for the surveillance of COVID-19. Stockholm: ECDC; 2020.
  3. Askim J, Bergström  T,  (2021). Between lockdown and calm down. Comparing the COVID-19 responses of Norway and Sweden, Local Government Studies, DOI: 10.1080/03003930.2021.1964477.
  4. Tiirinki H, Tynkkynen LK, Sovala M, Atkins S, Koivusalo M, Rautiainen P, et al. COVID-19 pandemic in Finland - Preliminary analysis on health system response and economic consequences. Health Policy Technol. 2020;9(4):649-62.
  5. Wieler L, Rexroth U, Gottschalk R. Emerging COVID-19 success story: Germany’s push to maintain progress. Our World in Data. 2021. Available here.
  6. UN Women. How COVID-19 impacts women and girls.
  7. OECD Development Policy Papers. Gender-responsive COVID-19 recovery: Strengthening country systems through official development assistance and gender-responsive budgeting.
  8. FIT FOR WOMEN | womeningh
  9. Symptoms of a broken system: the gender gaps in COVID-19 decision-making | BMJ Global Health
Published Mar. 3, 2022 1:46 PM - Last modified Mar. 31, 2022 11:37 AM