a year ago

BIDS lecture: ‘Covid leaves lessons for LMICs’

Yale scholar says

File photo used for representation purpose
File photo used for representation purpose

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The Covid-19 pandemic had been an economic shock for poorer countries in addition to a public health issue, a noted economist told a public lecture on Wednesday.

"The pandemic was ultimately an economic shock for poorer countries," said Dr Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, a professor of economics at Yale University.

The pandemic left a number of lessons for the nations to cope with them in a meaningful way, he added.

Dr Mobarak was delivering the lecture at a seminar styled 'The past, present and future of pandemics: A retrospective on Covid-19' hosted by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) in Dhaka.

BIDS director general Dr Binayak Sen, and a host of economists and researchers joined the programme.

In his lecture, Dr Mobarak presented seven lessons learnt from the pandemic.

The global economic growth witnessed a drastic fall in 2020 surpassing all previous recorded statistics, he said, adding that even it had become difficult to track data amid limitations.

"People in poorer countries, including Bangladesh, witnessed massive drop in their income during the pandemic," maintained the professor.

Whatever the extent of a pandemic is, lower middle-income countries (LMICs) cannot blindly follow the dos and don'ts to tackle a pandemic like wealthy nations due to limitations.

Adequate data related to the pandemic was missing for many undeveloped countries, he said, adding that availability of data could help economists and researchers provide insights to policymakers.

Dr Mobarak further said that low-income countries could share the leanings among each other.

"I was really impressed with the way Sierra Leone was managing the (covid-19) pandemic relative to the most south Asian countries as because they had the experience of Ebola."

The country was much more knowledgeable and ready to handle the latest pandemic, added the scholar.

The economist also wrote articles on global media outlets about how a developed country the US can learn from the experience of African experience of dealing with pandemic.

Another lesson learnt from the pandemic was that global organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) were in need of more information and evidence, which the LMIC countries could provide.

He also talked about the 'NORM' model of masking, which has been an initiative by an NGO in Bangladesh and the researchers from Yale University.

In a bid to cope with Covid, stakeholders in Bangladesh, including civil society, media, NGO and private sector, came together in a commendable way, said the economist.

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