National Parliaments and elected assemblies were largely drip-fed information, which led to increasing frustration and fear amongst the public.
The annual audit of pandemic preparedness in countries and regions should be subject to full disclosure to the parliamentary procedure – in the same way as a country’s annual budgets.
This level of scrutiny is essential, so that the public are made fully aware of whether they will be better protected next time.
The United Kingdom – holding this year’s G7 Presidency – could lead by example and introduce these new mechanisms. The public usually knows when the annual budget is published and what is being spent on our armed forces and the resilience of national defence – why shouldn’t we have the same for health spending?
Transparency and accountability are key in a post pandemic world. Our politicians and governments owe the public the same level of information sharing on health system resilience as they do in other areas.
It is us, citizens, that should be able to judge whether governments are serious in preventing a repeat of 2020.
- Alan Donnelly is a former Labour MEP, executive chairman of Sovereign Sustainability and Development, and convenor of the G20 Health And Development Partnership
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