Giving Compass' Take:

• Bill Gates offers recommendations for global leaders on how to respond to coronavirus, focusing on helping low and middle-income countries prepare for this global epidemic. 

• What are the main barriers for low-to-middle income countries in responding to coronavirus? What is the role of donors to help these countries? 

• Read more on how philanthropy can address coronavirus. 

In any crisis, leaders have two equally important responsibilities: solve the immediate problem and keep it from happening again. The COVID-19 pandemic is an excellent case in point. The world needs to save lives now while also improving the way we respond to outbreaks in general. The first point is more pressing, but the second has crucial long-term consequences.

The good news is that national, state, and local governments and public health agencies can take steps over the next few weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

For example, in addition to helping their own citizens respond, donor governments should help low- and middle-income countries prepare for this pandemic. The health systems in many of these countries are already stretched thin, and a pathogen like coronavirus can quickly overwhelm them. And poorer countries have little political or economic leverage, given wealthier countries’ natural desire to put their own people first.

By helping countries in Africa and South Asia get ready now, we can save lives and also slow the global circulation of the virus. (A significant portion of the commitment Melinda and I recently made to help kickstart the global response to COVID-19—which could total up to $100 million—is focused particularly on developing countries.)

The world also needs to invest in disease surveillance, including a case database that is instantly accessible to the relevant organizations and rules that require countries to share their information.

In addition, we need to build a system that can develop safe and effective vaccines and antivirals, get them approved, and deliver billions of doses within a few months of the discovery of a fast-moving pathogen.

In addition to these technical solutions, we’ll need diplomatic efforts to drive international collaboration and data sharing. Developing antivirals and vaccines involves massive clinical trials and licensing agreements that would cross national borders.

Read the full article about how to respond to coronavirus by Bill Gates at Gates Notes.