The Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) is an annual gathering of global health experts to deliberate and
forge a path for better health for the world population. The COVID-19 pandemic has defined the year 2020 and has
challenged the collective might of the world in a myriad of ways. The new virus has infected every region of the world and currently,
there is still no vaccine. As we observe, COVID-19
drastically changes the way we live and work, and it will also change political and economic order, regionally and
globally. The pandemic poses challenges and questions on many fronts. It challenges government and health system
responses, preparedness, and capacities all over the world. COVID-19 exposes government leadership and
capacities in handling the pandemic and other issues entail with it.
COVID-19 has shown that it is not only technical preparedness that determines actual performance (arguably the countries hit most hard were better prepared as per JEEs and SPARs). Leadership, decision making, governance, decentralization matter. It also lays bare the implications of the prevailing economic order, economic and social inequalities and environmental crisis, raising questions about the nature of the post-COVID world. We also see diversity of policies, measures, innovations from different countries to tackle the disease leading to a vast diversity of success and failure, and we can learn from this and make progress. We should also learn on how society at large have performed during this crisis. Apart from present challenges, many questions toward the future emerge. For example, the questions of how to prevent future outbreaks of infectious diseases with pandemic potential, or what the world after COVID-19 will look like. These are the issues to be addressed at PMAC 2021.
This current pandemic is an opportune moment for PMAC 2021 to review, share lessons and provide feedback to each other in the global health community on how to prepare and respond more effectively, including those actions necessary to prevent and mitigate the impact of the next small-scale outbreak or Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). PMAC 2021 will seek to address the issue of global health security and pandemic preparedness and response through the case study of the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, the conference will aim to: 1) Draw lessons from the national and international preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic; 2) Assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health and non-health sectors and mitigation efforts; 3) Lay a roadmap and make action for a better-prepared, resilient and sustainable system for the next PHEIC and to ensure global health security.