COVID-19 Lessons For Migrant-Resilient Primary Care Systems On A Warming Planet

This article is published in full on Health Affairs website.

“Build back better,” we cried, just a couple of months into the pandemic, urgently seeking a silver lining amid the unfolding horror. Yet, aside from small, localised efforts, there are few signs that governments intend to capitalise on this opportunity, and the phrase is already beginning to take on a hollow, cynical ring.

On one thing, most of us can agree. Future pandemics are almost guaranteed. But what if such pandemics are a clarion call to action, a warning that our continued co-existence on this planet is under threat if we do not take radical action?

The pandemic has been met not only with the ugliness of vaccine apartheid but with a seeming failure to learn from the lessons of COVID-19 and mitigate for other public health threats that similarly disregard national boundaries.

Although COVID-19 has seen borders closed and territories more closely guarded than ever, the pandemic has also shown just how permeable those borders are. COVID-19 does not respect these artificial boundaries nor does climate change.

Read the full article on Health Affairs website here. It’s the concluding article in our co-authored Primary Care Perspectives series: exploring resilient systems and healthy populations in the context of Covid-19 and beyond.


  • Julia Beart, CEO, PCI. PCI has been working in partnership with UNHCR since 2014 to improve quality of primary care in refugee settings globally.
  • Dr Renzo Guinto, Associate Professor of Global Public Health and Inaugural Director of the Planetary and Global Health Program, St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine, Philippines
  • Dr Rita Issa, Research Fellow in Climate Change, Migration and Health, Lancet Migration
  • Dr Dieudonne Yiweza, Regional Public Health Officer East and Horn of Africa, UNHCR