Health inequity during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cry for ethical global leadership

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type

Letter to the Editor


Bioethics and Medical Ethics | Health Services Administration | Infectious Disease | International Public Health | Patient Safety | Virus Diseases


Widespread reports of disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic among already vulnerable communities worldwide, from New York City to New Orleans and Chicago, to the shocking pictures of bodies lying in the streets in Ecuador, represent a prelude of the impact in low-income and middle-income countries, home to more than 80% of the world's population. Disadvantaged people are at higher risk of infection and death from COVID-19, and they have less access to care due to systems that treat health as a commodity and not a human right. Furthermore, most health-care systems are not prepared to handle a pandemic of this magnitude. Overwhelmed European and US systems are ominous reminders of the challenges faced in poor countries.


COVID-19, pandemic, health disparities

DOI of Published Version



Chiriboga D, Garay J, Buss P, Madrigal RS, Rispel LC. Health inequity during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cry for ethical global leadership. Lancet. 2020 May 15. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31145-4. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32419711; PMCID: PMC7225689. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Lancet (London, England)

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID