Deconstructing free trade : An analysis of the implications of the disruption on global medical supply chains during the COVID-19 crisis.

University essay from

Author: Masudur Rahaman; [2021]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted global trade and caused many stakeholders to recognize how interconnected the international community is. However, due to nationalist sentiments and the uncertainty associated with the pandemic, most governments rushed to adopt protectionist measures aimed at protecting their essential supplies by imposing export restrictions on foodstuffs and diverse medical equipment and medications. Although most countries have managed to handle this crisis, it is evident that this isolationist effort would have worsened public health in both developing and developed countries if the COVID-19 pandemic had evolved to become a worse crisis than it is now. In particular, South Sudan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are vulnerable to the disruption of the global medical supply value chain which facilitates access to essential medications for their citizens. Nonetheless, the implications of the disruption of the global supply value chain may be felt in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. In this regard, there is a need for revisiting the stance of the international community on free trade. There is growing evidence that free trade is essential in enabling countries to develop a diverse medical value chain that will enable them to be resilient in the event of a public health crisis. Organizations such as the Swedish Development International Agency (SIDA) must collaborate with the governments of the countries where they operate to ensure that they build diverse medical value chains. This will enhance their capacity to meet the healthcare needs of all their citizens, a key milestone in their quest for sustainable development. Moving forward, multilateral organizations and development agencies must cooperate to ensure that the needs and concerns of vulnerable populations are addressed as the international community moves to focus on the approval of emerging COVID-19 vaccines and their distribution.

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