Inclusive Health Care and Social Protection: Anchors of Build Back Better from COVID-19


Inclusive Health Care and Social Protection: Anchors of Build Back Better from COVID-19

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Speaker: Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza

COVID-19 originated in one country(China) with the first reported cases in December 2019, and this virus has since spread across well over 200 countries, territories and areas in less than four months. Citing a recent report by the International Labor Organization, a recent Lancet Editorial notes that: “2.7 billion people—81% of the world's workforce—had been affected by lockdown measures. 61% of workers are from the informal sector, 90% of whom are in low-income and middle-income countries, and social protection measures are often inadequate, with a lack of access to health-care support and economic protections. Informal and migrant workers are likely to fall through the cracks and ensuring their safety must be a priority (The Lancet 2020).” In countries with weak healthcare systems, contagion control becomes more difficult, and is often delayed, allowing the health crisis to fester and generate much higher social and economic costs. This talk will elaborate on the economics of the lockdown; and it will tackle options for building-back-better from the COVID-19 health pandemic, drawing on emerging lessons from the present crisis. The main message is that with stronger and more inclusive healthcare and social protection systems countries can turn to more nuanced crisis responses policies generating less economic damage. The useful analogy here is that countries can deploy a scalpel (e.g. strong data collection and data-informed policies; agile test-trace-treat strategies) rather than an axe (e.g. draconian lockdown measures with high social and economic costs).


Dr. Mendoza is Dean and Professor at the Ateneo School of Government. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics (Honors Program) from the Ateneo de Manila University, his Masters in Public Administration and International Development (MPA-ID) from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Fordham University. He has served in various capacities in several institutions such as AIM, the United Nations, UNICEF, UNDP, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Multi-Sector Governance Council, the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees of Galing Pook among others. Atty. Mendoza is also a reserve officer with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with the Philippine Air Force Reserve Command. He has published several books on international development, public finance and international cooperation one of which entitled: Building Inclusive Democracies in ASEAN (Anvil Press, 2015) was the winner of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Outstanding Book Award for 2016. He is also a recipient of various awards, including the 2012 NAST’s Ten Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) in the Philippines (in Economics), the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders in 2013, and Devex 40 Under 40 Development Leader in 2013.

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Inclusive Health Care and Social Protection: Anchors of Build Back Better from COVID-19