Countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) need to refocus public expenditure towards public health and the reduction of inequality in their attempts to counter the impacts of the corona pandemic. This is the conclusion my Dr Mahmoud Messkoub in his article in Area Development Policy.
COVID-19 had major socio-economic impacts on the populations and societies of MENA countries. Government reactions depended on their public health institutions/infrastructures, official ideologies and understanding of the situation and the consequences of wars/conflicts and sanctions.
To counter the impact of the pandemic, countries adopted a combination of cash payments to the poor, furlough schemes and financial support to employers. But public health services in most countries have been poorly resourced to cope with the pandemic.
Considering that most countries are characterized by inequality in the distribution of income/wealth, entitlement and access to health services and social protection, states need to reorientate public expenditure towards public health and the reduction of inequality.
'Covid-19, public health and social policy in MENA', in Area Development Policy
- Associate professor