The COVID-19 Pandemic:
Global Health Policy and Technology
Responses in the Making

The nations of the world had to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic at the same time, but not all responses were created equal. This special issue, published in the Elsevier journal Health Policy and Technology in 2020, focuses on the initial health policy and technology interventions used to respond to the first wave of the pandemic. The issue contains four papers covering general issues related to the pandemic and 17 country-specific papers that explore policy and technology responses across 28 different countries. This issue was made possible through the many contributions of VheP members and their peers, comprising 85 different authors and four guest editors, representing more than 40 different organisations.

VheP founder Francesco Paolucci (University of Newcastle, University of Bologna), Doowon Lee (University of Newcastle), Jonathan Tritter (Aston University), and Naomi Moy (University of Bologna) were the guest editors who worked tirelessly to make this impressive achievement possible. Their editorial piece for the special issue, "The COVID-19 pandemic: Global health policy and technology responses in the making" highlights the importance and timeliness of this issue and is highly recommended reading before diving in to the articles. As of May 2022, seven of the articles in this special issue are in the top 25 most cited research published by Health Policy and Technology since 2018. These seven articles are highlighted below.

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About the Journal

Health Policy and Technology (HPT) is the official journal of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, which focuses on past, present and future health policy and the role of technology in clinical and non-clinical international health environments. The aim of HPT is to publish relevant, timely, and accessible articles and commentaries to support policy-makers, health professionals, health technology providers, patient groups, and academics.

Special Issue Articles

Merit of Test: Perspective of Information Economics

Andrea Galeotti, Jakub Steiner, and Paolo Surico assess the economic value of a test, allowing them to provide a method for decision-makers to select the best available COVID-19 test for their objectives.

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Court Innovations and Access to Justice in Times of Crisis

Tania Sourdin, Bin Li, and Donna Marie McNamara find that COVID-19 has exacerbated issues related to access to justice despite the adoption of new technologies.

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Swedish Policy Analysis for COVID-19

Andrius Kavaliunas, Pauline Ocaya, Jim Mumper, Isis Lindfeldt, and Mattias Kyhlstedt report on how the Swedish experience highlights how much can be achieved with voluntary measures; something that was noticed and proposed as a future model by the World Health Organization.

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Rapid Response to Crisis: Health System Lessons from the Active Period of COVID-19

Luis Salvador-Carulla, Sebastian Rosenberg, John Mendoza, Hossein Tabatabaei-Jafari, and The Pandemic-Mental Health International Network analyse global pandemic responses and conclude that rapid response prioritization should incorporate systems thinking and healthcare ecosystem approaches.

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International Experiences of the Active Period of COVID-19 - Mental Health Care

Sebastian Rosenberg, John Mendoza, Hossein Tabatabaei-Jafari, The Pandemic-Mental Health International Network, and Luis Salvador-Carulla describe the international mental health situation and outline an urgent need for mental health reform driven by lessons learned in the pandemic.

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COVID-19 Pandemic in China: Context, Experience and Lessons

Weiwei Xu, Jing Wu, and Lidan Cao expand on China's efficient, centralized response, cross-regional healthcare resource mobilization, and use of technology to support policy implementation.

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COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States

Savannah Bergquist, Thomas Otten, and Nick Sarich find that the US policy response is best characterised by its federalist, decentralised nature, concluding that the “re-opening” of economic activities appears to be largely driven by social tensions and economic motivations rather than an ability to effectively test and monitor the population.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy: Policy and Technology Impact on Health and Non-Health Outcomes

Chiara Berardi, Marcello Antonini, Mesfin Genie, Giovanni Cotugno, Alessandro Lanteri, Adrian Melia, and Francesco Paolucci find that the strictness and timing of containment and prevention measures played a prominent role in tackling the pandemic. This article ranked 8th in the top 25 most cited research published by HPT since 2018 (58 citations).

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Europe's COVID-19 Outliers: German, Austrian and Swiss Policy Responses During the Early Stages of the 2020 Pandemic

Zachary Desson, Lisa Lambertz, Jan Willem Peters, Michelle Falkenbach, and Lukas Kauer compare the experiences of the three countries and examine policies that may provide global lessons in mitigating some of the negative impacts of the pandemic. This article ranked 6th in the top 25 most cited research published by HPT since 2018 (68 citations).

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COVID-19: The Need for An Australian Economic Pandemic Response Plan

Shannen Higginson, Katarina Milovanovic, James Gillespie, Laura Wall, Naomi Moy, Madeleine Hinwood, Andrew Matthews, Christopher Williams, Adrian Melia, and Francesco Paolucci explore the rationale for an economic response plan to guide the Australian government towards robust solutions for future pandemics.

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The Dutch COVID-19 Approach: Regional Differences in a Small Country

Lieke Michaela Hoekman, Marlou Marriet Vera Smits, and Xander Koolman describe differences in regional approaches and analyse the economic impacts that Dutch pandemic policies may have in the future.

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COVID-19 Pandemic in Finland – Preliminary Analysis on Health System Response and Economic Consequences

Hanna Tiirinki, Liina-Kaisa Tynkkynen, Markus Sovala, Salla Atkins, Meri Koivusalo, Pauli Rautiainen, Vesa Jormanainen, and Ilmo Keskimäkifind that the pandemic has likely accelerated the development of digital health services in Finnish healthcare.

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COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom

Darren Flynn, Eoin Moloney, Nawaraj Bhattari, Jason Scott, Matthew Breckons, Leah Avery, and Naomi Moy highlight some of the most striking findings from the available data and provide insightful recommendations for future research. This article ranked 20th in the top 25 most cited research published by HPT since 2018 (38 citations).

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The First Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Spain

Josefa Henriquez, Eduardo Gonzalo Almorox, Francesco Paolucci, and Manuel Garcia-Goñi find that the main measure to contain the spread of the pandemic was a stringent confinement policy which also resulted in a substantial reduction in mobility and economic activity. This article ranked 13th in the top 25 most cited research published by HPT since 2018 (44 citations).

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Policies And Innovations to Battle COVID-19 – A Case Study of South Korea

Doowon Lee and Bobae Choi show how a fast government response prevented human capital loss and how some South Korean technological innovations have been adapted around the world.

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An Analysis of the Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in France, Belgium, and Canada

 Zachary Desson, Emmi Weller, Peter McMeekin, and Mehdi Ammi conclude that differing degrees of federalism and centralization had a strong impact on policy implementation across the three countries. This article ranked 14th in the top 25 most cited research published by HPT since 2018 (50 citations).

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Responses to COVID-19 in Five Latin American Countries

Marìa Alejandra Benìtez, Carolina Velasco, Ana Rita Sequeira, Josefa Henriquez, Flavio M. Menezes, and Francesco Paolucci report on Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, finding that the underlying characteristics of these countries have undermined the effectiveness of their responses to the pandemic. This article ranked 3rd in the top 25 most cited research published by HPT since 2018 (118 citations).

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The COVID-19 Pandemic in Greece, Iceland, New Zealand, and Singapore: Health Policies and Lessons Learned

Ayman Fouda, Nader Mahmoudi, Naomi Moy, and Francesco Paolucci find that these four countries managed the pandemic at an early stage and could absorb the health system shock and decrease the case fatality ratio. This article ranked 15th in the top 25 most cited research published by HPT since 2018 (40 citations).

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The COVID-19 Pandemic in Ireland: An Overview of the Health Service and Economic Policy Response

Brendan Kennelly, Mike O'Callaghan, Diarmuid Coughlan, John Cullinan, Edel Doherty, Liam Glynn, Eoin Moloney, and Michelle Queally credit the use of technology and a commitment to transparency for the country's relative success in protecting public health.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic in Norway: The Dominance of Social Implications in Framing the Policy Response

Gøril Ursin, Ingunn Skjesol, and Jonathan Tritter discuss how the agendas of limiting disease spread, mitigating economic effects and engaging with social consequences combined to motivate the Norwegian policy response.

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Easing of Lockdown Measures in Nigeria: Implications for the Healthcare System

Ridwan Lanre Ibrahim, Kazeem Bello. Ajide, and Omokanmi Olatunde Julius find that the periods where restrictions were eased were also correlated with the highest increases in COVID-19 cases and a cyclical overwhelming of the healthcare system.

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