The Ramifications of Covid-19 on Public Health

Several countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are currently imposing new restrictions in response to the recent Covid-19 variant Omicron. Since the outbreak in 2020, it has become evident that there are major differences in how states have managed the pandemic.

The global Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the varying levels of state capacity and ability to provide health care services to their citizens. Access to vaccines has been relatively straightforward in wealthy Gulf countries, while access and vaccination rates are extremely low in countries such as Syria, Algeria, Yemen and Iraq. The pandemic has also exacerbated existing socioeconomic inequalities within countries. This is likely to have extensive effects on public health as well as trust in the government’s ability to manage future public health crises.

What are the long-term effects of the pandemic on public health, and how well prepared are these states for future public health challenges?

Speakers
Intissar Fakir, Senior fellow and director of Middle East Institute’s North Africa and the Sahel program
Hanan F. Abdul Rahim, Associate Professor in Public Health and Dean of the College of Health Science, Qatar University
Vira Ameli, Doctoral Student at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford

Moderator
Rouzbeh Parsi, Head of Programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI)

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UI Seminar: Socioeconomic Drivers of Protests in the MENA Region

The Middle East and North Africa Programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs invites you to a webinar analysing socio-economic drivers of protests in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region focusing on the contexts of Tunisia, Algeria and Lebanon.

Ten years after the Arab uprisings, that toppled dictators and briefly reshuffled the established status quo in several Arab countries, the region is still experiencing protests and popular demonstrations.

Long standing issues related to entrenched social inequalities, deep-seated corruption, recurring economic crises and the disintegration of the social contract are further weakening the already fragile state-society relationship in states across the region. With citizens’ growing mistrust in political institutions, protests is viewed by many as the main avenue to express discontent and demand structural changes.

With these dynamics in mind, this seminar focuses on a comparative analysis of socioeconomic drivers of protests in Tunisia, Lebanon, and Algeria, examining different repertoires of contention and state responses to popular demonstrations.

What socioeconomic grievances drive contemporary protest movements in the Middle East and North Africa region? How are they different from what brought people to the streets to protest during the Arab Spring? Are there any similarities between the movements in different countries in the region?

Panel:
Lina Khatib, Director, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Youssef Cherif, Director, Columbia Global Centers, Tunis
Linda El-Naggar, Analyst, Middle East and North Africa Programme, UI

Moderator:
Lucia Ardovini, Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, UI

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