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For global security, investing in public health essential, says Kim

By ZHANG YUE | | Updated: 2021-05-29 16:30
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Jim Yong Kim, former president of the World Bank Group, speaks at the International Finance Forum 2021 Spring Meetings via video on May 29, 2021. [Photo/]

Investing in public health is essential to promoting global financial stability and realizing strong economic growth, and more efforts shall be rolled out in consolidating cooperation between global finance institutions and other development organizations to ensure health support can become more inclusive, Jim Yong Kim, former president of the World Bank Group, said on Saturday.

Kim made the remarks when speaking at the International Finance Forum 2021 Spring Meetings via video. The meeting, which runs until Sunday in Beijing through both online and offline format.

"In my decades of work in global health, we cannot hear the voice of promoting public health in the financial sector, even now when the world is faced by severe pandemic rarely seen in a century," he said, adding that investment in public healthcare is cost effective, as it not only saves lives, but also saves money and drives economic growth.

Improvement in public health is strongly related to strong economic growth, he said, and "the evidence of this relationship is nowhere more clear than in our host country", referring to China.

He said though vaccines developed today are wonderful and powerful , they will not survive this pandemic alone. Many countries and regions still do not have the access to any of these vaccines.

He said that support should be rolled out in channeling new resources to international financial institutions, so that they can continue to play a critical role in supporting developing countries that cannot "engage in the kinds of fiscal stimulus that are so effective in many developed economies".

He also said that the World Health Organization needs more funding support and independence. Noting that global finance institutions have played a critical role to date, and they shall work more proactively with World Health Organization as well as UN agencies, NGOs and private sectors, to ensure that all countries have access to the expertise and resources, including the vaccines, to cope with the pandemic, he said.

According to the World Bank official website, Kim, the 12th president of the World Bank Group, has had most of his career focusing on health, education, and delivering services to the poor. Before joining the World Bank, he had held professorships at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, and had also worked as director of the World Health Organization's HIV/AIDS Department.

The weekend forum, focusing mainly on how global cooperation will better help cushion the COVID-19 impact across country borders, was attended by more than 500 guests home and abroad through online and offline format. Founded in Beijing in 2003, the forum was established by more than 20 key international organization, including the UN and a significant number of financial institutions and leaders.

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