Most of the countries of the world were not prepared to tackle Covid-19 pandemic as there were very low spending on public healthcare, weak social safety nets and poor labour rights, according to a new report of Oxfam.
The report was published on 8 October 2020 by Oxfam and Development Finance International (DFI).
According to a press release from Oxfam, "Only 26 out of 158 countries were spending a recommended 15 percent of their budgets on health before the pandemic, and in 103 countries at least one in three workers lacked basic labour rights and protections, like sick pay, when the virus struck."
Chema Vera, interim executive director of Oxfam International, said, "Governments' catastrophic failure to tackle inequality meant the majority of the world's countries were critically ill-equipped to weather the pandemic. No country on earth was trying hard enough to reduce inequality and ordinary people are bearing the brunt of this crisis as a result."
"Millions of people have been pushed into poverty and hunger and there have been countless unnecessary deaths," he added.
According to the Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRII), many countries are still failing to act to take necessary steps to lower the catastrophic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as they were not doing enough to tackle inequality before the pandemic.
The index highlights the vulnerability of people living in poverty including women due to the inaction of the countries.
According to the report, "Since the pandemic, Bangladesh, which ranks at just 113 on the index, has stepped up by spending $11 million on bonus payments for frontline healthcare workers, most of which are women."
"Both Myanmar and Bangladesh have added more than 20 million people to their social protection schemes."
However, Nigeria, Bahrain and India, were among the world's worst-performing countries in tackling inequality going into the pandemic.
The report said richer countries like Germany, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom, are lagged on critical policies that have helped reduce inequality for decades.
Matthew Martin, directors of Development Finance International, said, "Extreme inequality is not inevitable, and you don't have to be a wealthy country to do something about it. We know that policies such as free public healthcare, safety nets for people who cannot work, decent wages and a fair tax system, have been proven to fight inequality."