International influences and learning from abroad

European flags

Gain an insight into COVID-19 experiences from hospitals around the world, exit strategies as countries begin to lift restrictions, information on the World Health Organization’s response and key Brexit considerations.

International experience

  • This briefing from Nuffield Trust, Resuming Health Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Can the NHS Learn from Other Countries? looks at how countries around the world are attempting to return to some form of pre-pandemic normality.
  • The House of Commons Library has published a series of briefings on international dimensions of the coronavirus pandemic since March 2020, ranging from general surveys of its impact on developing countries to assessments of its effects in specific situations. Links to these briefings can be found here.
  • The International Hospitals Foundation (IHF) is continuing to add to its series of webinars, looking at international experiences, best practice and recommendations from IHF members and partners in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology site hosts analysis on areas such as COVID-19 and international approaches to exiting lockdown.
  • Research from Guangzhou, China has found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the pathogen that causes COVID-19, can be transmitted faster within households as compared to SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
  • Towards Post-COVID-19: Lessons and Challenges for Hospitals and Healthcare Infrastructures. Learning from the experience of Italy with COVID-19, this article looks at the role of the health technicians who responded to continuously changing needs, providing care environments for the infected and protection for other patients and operators.
  • The Cambridge Core blog features regular reports on individual country responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. These detail each country's response to the pandemic up to April, reflect on the response thus far, and consider what has been done well, or could have been done better.
  • European Commission held a webinar on COVID-19 and Intensive Care Medicine featuring two experts from the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine to provide clinicians with the most updated knowledge on intensive care management and ethics in the context of the COVID-19. You can access the presentations here.
  • Mr Keshav Desiraju, former Secretary of Health and Family Welfare to the government of India recently hosted a webinar to discuss the Indian government's response to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • This recent World Economic Forum's article focusses on Germany and their COVID-19 strategy: How Germany Contained the Coronavirus.
  • What can we learn from African nations' approaches to tackling the Coronavirus? The New Yorker explores this question.
  • The European Commission Joint Research Centre's analysis of global risk mitigation shows how the COVID-19 outbreak took the world by surprise, and recommends a combination of measures to manage this kind of crisis in the future.
  • The NHS Confederation, as part of the International Hospital Foundation's Beyond COVID-19 Taskforce, joins health system leaders from around the world to learn lessons and develop best practice guidance across key topics, including people, service delivery and infrastructure. Read more here and look out for updates on our work.
  • Researchers from the International Long-Term Care Policy Network at the LSE have produced a comparison of policy and practice measures that have been adopted internationally to prevent COVID-19 infections in care homes and to mitigate their impact.
  • The latest International Horizon Scanning and Learning report features a deep dive look at the experience of The Netherlands. These reports are developed by the International Health Team at the WHO Collaborating Centre on Investment for Health and Well-being and Public Health Wales focusing on COVID-19 international evidence, experience, measures and recovery approaches, to understand and explore solutions for addressing the on-going and emerging health, wellbeing, social and economic impacts.
  • From the preparation of guidelines and control materials for testing and better characterisation of the pandemic, to the detailed analysis of epidemiologic and economic impacts, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre is evaluating and anticipating the evolution of this crisis so that it can be managed effectively.
  • A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine assesses challenges faced by GPs in the prevention and management of COVID-19 in Italy.
  • Mental Health Europe has responded to the COVID-19 crisis with resources and support for the mental health of healthcare staff and the communities they serve.
  • The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has shared a collection of webinars documenting experiences of COVID-19 in a range of different countries.
  • This comparative tracker from Cicero/AMO provides an overview of the latest COVID-19 national exit strategies as countries begin to re-open their economies and lift restrictions, and information on the curbs that remain in place. It includes EU countries and selected major international economies.

Reflections on Brexit

  • The NHS Welsh Confederation launched its new report UK Migration Policy and the Welsh NHS and Social Care Workforce with a webinar on 28 September. The report looks at the impact on the workforce of the new immigration system that will come into place from 1 January 2021.
  • 'Deal is best outcome for UK citizens and patients' the Brexit Health Alliance responded on 7 September to the UK Prime Minister’s announcement that if no EU-UK future trade agreement is reached by 15 October both sides should “move on”.

World Health Organization

  • NEW: A new WHO report on how to counter pandemic fatigue looks at finding effective ways to reinvigorate public vigilance as the prolonged COVID-19 public health crisis continues. 
  • NEW: The WHO Regional Office for Europe recommendations on influenza vaccination during the 2020/21 season have been released. 
  •  The WHO released a health worker safety charter on 17 September calling on governments and healthcare leaders to address persistent threats to the health and safety of health workders and patients. 
  • The WHO has released an interim report based on a recent survey on continuity of essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking across over 100 countries, it reveals the extent of disruptions across all services, the reasons for disruptions, and the mitigation strategies countries are using to maintain service delivery.
  • With cases of COVID-19 continuing to rise globally, Mr Bean's Essential COVID-19 Checklist is a reminder to people about the importance of washing hands, physical distancing and demonstrating kindness to their neighbours.
  • WHO is running a short weekly webinar programme to discuss infection prevention and control and hand hygiene topics, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic response and aimed at relevant health professionals. For further information and resources for the WHO annual hand hygiene campaign, see here.
  • The WHO’s Culture and Health webinar series examines current issues related to how cultural contexts affect our health and well-being. Each webinar features speakers from a variety of backgrounds — including policy-makers, historians, and people sharing their lived experience.
  • The COVID-19 Health System Response Monitor is an online platform that provides countries and stakeholders in the WHO European Region with evidence of how national health systems are responding to the pandemic.
  • The WHO recently published its global strategy for fighting COVID-19, and the regional director for Europe shared his considerations for lifting the lockdown in Europe -  “The next few weeks will be critical for Europe. Make no mistake, despite this spring weather, we remain in the midst of a storm.”
  • The Qatar Foundation in collaboration with the World Innovation Summit for Health held a webinar to discuss solutions, challenges, and lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis. It features WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, WHO Regional Director for Africa, and WHO Special Envoy for COVID-19, among other policy-makers from seriously affected regions.

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