PODCAST: Regional Health Diplomacy and the COVID-19 Crisis

By Donald Greenlees, Senior Adviser, Asialink

On 3 March, the Federal Government announced the appointment of Dr Stephanie Williams as Australia’s Ambassador for Regional Health Security. Days later, the World Health Organisation officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic disease.

As Ambassador, Williams is tasked with leading a key part of Australia’s international response to the coronavirus crisis, particularly in our immediate region, where she is helping to guide Australia’s $300 million Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific.

In this Asialink Insights podcast, she speaks to Asialink senior adviser Donald Greenlees about the challenges Australia faces in supporting the region overcome the biggest global health challenge in 100 years.

Offering a sobering assessment that the COVID-19 crisis is likely to be with us for a very long time, Dr. Williams addresses the “cycle of panic and neglect” that have characterised responses to past global health challenges and answers the question of whether governments failed their communities by ignoring the warning signs.

Cover image:  Technical Advisor Ismael Barreto labels samples in the National Health Laboratory in  Timor-Leste. Photo credit: Menzies School for Medical Research.