Ryan Morhard and Martina Szabo

Launch of COVID-19 and Ageing Society dialogues

The World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Longevity, in collaboration with AARP and the National Academy of Medicine, has kicked-off a five-part dialogue series about COVID-19 and ageing societies. Five webinars during June and July will bring together experts from government, academia, civil society, foundations and the private sector to consider key issues faced by older adults, and highlight opportunities for action on ageing and health.

COVID-19 and Ageing Society: Part One

The first webinar, focused on Challenges for Long-Term Care Facilities, was moderated by Sue Peschin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for Aging and Research; and Jisella Dolan, Chief Strategy Officer, Home Instead Senior Care. Debra Whitman, Chief Public Policy Officer, AARP, gave the keynote address, and panelists included:

  • Kate Tulenko, Chief Executive Officer, Corvus Health
  • Zee-A Han, Ageing and Health Unit – Responsible medical officer for Long-term care Division of UHC & Lifecourse/ Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child & Adolescent Health & Ageing, World Health Organization
  • William E. Reichman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Baycrest, Professor of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Graeme Prior, Chief Executive Officer, Hall and Prior Residential Health and Aged Care Organization
  • Mark Shaver, Senior Vice President, Business Strategy & Health Systems Initiatives, Welltower
  • Karla Cristina Giacomin, Research member Center for Studies in Public Health and Ageing – NESPE (FIOCRUZ) and focal point of International Longevity Centre - Brazil
Image: Kate Tulenko, Chief Executive Officer, Corvus Health

Key takeaways from this first webinar included:

  • Need for a stable, well-trained and adequately compensated workforce. This has been demonstrated in facilities in Canada and Australia where focus has been on improving career pathways, advancement opportunities, comparable pay, and other benefits to carers in long-term care facilities.
  • Safety of long-term care workforce and residents is paramount. Facilities must have access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and make it readily available to staff, mandatory testing and basic infection control. Training needs to be put in place to ensure carers have up-to-date knowledge on how to properly wear PPEs and how to reduce infections for themselves and the residents.
  • The outbreak has emphasized the role of data. Surveillance systems allows for reporting of new infections, hotspots (facilities impacted), better monitoring, transparency and mechanisms to reduce transmission.
  • Behaviour-change communication training to empower residents to develop, promote and sustain change. For example, encouraging residents to prompt healthcare workers to practise hand hygiene, which has been extremely successful in hospital settings.
  • Technology to enable virtual care delivery. Facilities with longstanding commitment to virtual care ramped up their systems during the outbreak to enable family interaction, as well as social and recreational programming. This allowed residents to remain connected to their friends and relatives.
  • Regulation and inspection do not necessarily equate to better outcomes. There must be a push for a regulatory framework that emphasizes continuous quality improvement as opposed to punishment for lack of compliance.

Check back weekly for updates from the rest of the dialogue series.

News from the latest WHO media briefings on COVID-19 in Asia and Africa

Since mid-April, the Forum has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to organize a series of on-the-record media briefings on the impact of COVID-19 in Asia and Africa.

COVID-19 in Africa: briefing with WHO Regional Office for Africa

Speakers at this week's briefing on Africa included Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa, World Health Organization (WHO); Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission; and Prosper Zo'o Minto'o, Regional Director for Western and Central Africa at the International Civil Aviation Organization.

COVID-19 in Asia: briefing with WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific

Speakers at this week's briefing included Dr. Takeshi Kasai, Regional Director for the Western Pacific, World Health Organisation; Woochong Um, Director General, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, Asian Development Bank; Hyung Gyoun Byun, Vice President of AI/BigData Service Department, Korea Telecom; and Runa Khan, Founder and Executive Director, Friendship Bangladesh, Schwab Social Entrepreneur.

Diagnostics project shares lessons on COVID-19 from Germany and US

The Acceleration of COVID-19 Diagnostics project is convening conversations about COVID-19 diagnostics and testing among Forum partners. In May, Part One of the dialogue heard the experience of two companies in quickly pivoting expertise, products and infrastructure to support national-level COVID-19 diagnostic testing, in Germany and the United States.

The ability to operationalize COVID-19 diagnostic tests in an affordable, quick, high-quality and large-scale manner is critical for a rapid and proportionate response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hubert Truebel and Claus Runge of Bayer Pharmaceuticals described forming a public-private partnership with local communities and health authorities to boost Germany’s COVID-19 analysis capacity by several thousand tests per day. Their team shared what they'd learned as they pivoted aspects of their core business in pharmaceuticals into the manufacture and distribution of COVID-19 diagnostic tests (as well as other support measures), and engaged with audience interest in how to apply the lessons learned.

Bayer’s experience was complemented by Jason Kelly of Ginkgo Bioworks, a synthetic biology company from Boston, US, which repurposed their automated bio-manufacturing platform for the global response to COVID-19. This involved the support of diagnostic screening efforts in the US to rapidly collect, process, analyse and transmit test results back in large enough numbers to enable employees to go back to work and student bodies to return to the classroom.

COVID Action Platform in the news

Here's an update on recent news coverage of the COVID Action Platform and its initiatives:

  • The Financial Times reported on how World Economic Forum partners are responding to the coronavirus crisis and collaborating with the COVID Action Platform
  • The importance of collective action to mitigate the ongoing pandemic and its economic consequences, and to increase resilience to future risks, was highlighted in a call to action in the Straights Times, referencing learnings from a pandemic simulation the Forum convened last year.
  • A webinar about COVID-19, digital interoperability, and the future of supply chains was covered by the logistics news site, Freightwaves, in conjunction with the launch of a digital toolkit outlining how blockchain can be used to shape supply-chain recovery.

New digital database identifies over 500 global mobility responses to COVID-19

A partnership of non-profit transportation organizations has launched a new digital database of global mobility responses to the public health and safety crisis brought on by the new coronavirus.

COVID Mobility Works is an independent platform dedicated to collecting, synthesizing and sharing mobility initiatives that are keeping the world moving through the COVID-19 crisis and recovery. Recognizing the myriad actions taken to provide safe mobility around the world, the platform is intended to support policy-makers, planners, innovators, researchers, service operators and advocates as they rise to the challenge of creating more resilient, inclusive and sustainable transportation systems for all.

The platform is the result of a partnership of global non-profit organizations — including the New Urban Mobility alliance (NUMO); Polis; TNO; TUMI; Transportation Sustainability Research Center; University of California, Berkeley; the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative; Urbanism Next at the University of Oregon and the World Economic Forum’s Global New Mobility Coalition — dedicated to resilient, inclusive and sustainable mobility for all.

Over 500 responses from nearly 250 cities have been initially collected on COVID Mobility Works, and the partners plan to add new entries monthly through spring 2021. These responses — ranging from actions taken to safely continue mobility services for essential workers to addressing the provision of transportation services to identifying modifications to critical infrastructure — represent public, private and non-governmental organization efforts to ensure the movement of people and goods during the novel coronavirus pandemic response and recovery.

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