Everything must change
This year, World Health Day wishes to highlight the need for a fairer and healthier world.
In February 2021, Aruká, the last man of the Juma community in the Brazilian Amazon, died of COVID-19. In this region, hospitals are scarce, and many isolated and vulnerable communities have had to face the pandemic alone. In this context, the disease has wreaked havoc among indigenous people.
In Europe since the start of the pandemic, we have read or seen on our screens, doctors forced to choose which patients to save. From London to Lodi, Italy, we watched the sad ballet of exhausted and burned-out threaten medical workers in overwhelmed hospitals. Fortunately, apart from these extreme, highly publicized situations, practitioners do not have to make this difficult choice daily. Nevertheless, patient prioritization to improve fairness and equity in delivering care is necessary for any emergency department. Beyond the consideration of complex and intricate criteria (level of severity, complications, pain), specific data that differentiate us, such as the existence of possible pathologies, must be considered,
The current pandemic reminds us that health equality issues are not only in the health care sector’s hands. We do not have the same access to medical treatments and vaccines, and we are not equal when it comes to illness either. In this sense, the COVID-19 functions as an indicator of our social weaknesses.
For Hannah Arendt (the German political scientist, philosopher and journalist), equality is not an obvious concept but rather a social construct that we must put into practice. There is no consensus on equality, yet inequalities are still one of our biggest concerns. Is a fairer world a utopian place free from disparities? We are aware that social inequalities have a systemic character leading to an accumulation of handicaps or, on the contrary, of advantages and privileges which encompass all dimensions of life. Since the condition is multifactorial, the treatment must be transversal and collective. The pandemic has also highlighted that countries cannot manage the challenges they face on their own. For the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres,“ In an interconnected world, we need a networked multilateralism, in which the United Nations family, international financial institutions, regional organizations, trading blocs and others work together more closely and more effectively”. We also need, he said, an inclusive multilateralism, drawing on civil society, cities, businesses, local authorities and more and more on young people.
The construction of a fairer world is a battle that we must fight together, and businesses also have a decisive role to play in times of change. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has formulated the following definition of the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR): “CSR reflects how companies take into account the effects of their activities on society and assert their principles and values both in the application of their internal methods and procedures and in their relationship with other players”.
Engaging effectively and sustainably in the private sector for the common good can seem like an abstract task. At Prodie Santé we have chosen to mobilize within a multilateral, global and sustainable framework. We commit to the United Nations Global Compact and support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Adopting an established and globally recognized framework for the development, implementation, and public knowledge of environmental and social policies and practices gives us the possibility of developing concrete solutions and strategies to face the collective challenges and give meaning to our actions.
Given our activities’ nature, one of the most essential SDGs to us at Prodie Sante is good health and well-being access. Through our philanthropic actions, our innovative solutions to fight the pandemic or the integration of low-tech solution to our projects, we strive to participate in an approach that is not only driven by economic interests. We realize that there is no silver bullet to creating a more just and inclusive world but we, nevertheless, wish to respond to a universal call to fight for our planet’s future.
We only have ten years before reaching the 2030 deadline to achieve the SDGs. We are all aware that this is a difficult, collective mission that must be achieved through commitments made globally and individually. Change is only possible through joint action, which must come from all sides and on different scales. In 1972, Lorenz, the American scientist, published an article with an original title: “Predictability, does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” This publication has remained famous as the “butterfly effect”. It puts forward the idea that an important number of small things might be responsible for a significant change in the future. Perhaps this is why this discovery is so popular: It makes us hope we might all have a role to play in our planet’s future.