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Covid-19 has to be a turning point for our world – we can’t go on like this

For many people, living through Covid-19 has been a setback, an inconvenience, or a time to breathe. It might not feel like it, but all of these things are luxuries. They are luxuries because, for hundreds of millions of people all over the world, Covid-19 has meant starvation, destitution, and crippling fear. It didn’t have to be like this. It is only like this because we live in a world of devastating inequality. We have to change that. 

Covid-19 has laid bare the rotting of our moral world

A good home has been a sign of wealth almost since the dawn of time. It’s the same all over the world and during this global pandemic we’ve all been asked to retreat to these homes. Our homes have never before dominated public life to this extent.

But there’s a divide here; it’s a divide that is hard to think about. Some people have been asked to retreat to homes with no electricity, no heating, no proper ventilation and no clean running water. For millions of people, the home that has become their prison is barely fit to house animals.

Meanwhile, all over the world there are people who find themselves social distancing in their mansions, palaces, and castles. The water in their toilet is cleaner than the drinking water available to the poorest in our world. The price of one of their cars is greater than the net worth of entire villages. They have more money than they could ever know what to do with.

According to Oxfam, the world’s richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people.

How can we look at that contrast and not conclude that our morality is rotten? By affecting every corner of the world, Covid-19 has brought that contrast to light more so than any other event in recent history. We cannot let this crisis pass without action.

Ten years to turn the tide

In 2015, world leaders came together at the UN to commit to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to create a more peaceful and prosperous world by 2030.

It is the responsibility of governments, NGOs, private businesses, and individuals all over the world to ensure that the next ten years sees us power ourselves to a more equal world.

If we do that then more people will have access to clean water, more children will go to school, more adults will have access to jobs, and more families will have access to safe homes. We will also live in a world where leprosy is not given room to thrive; a world without poverty is a world where leprosy, a disease that targets the most vulnerable, will find fewer victims.

Small action will not be enough

The SDGs are bold and the inequality in this world is huge. Small steps will not be enough; we need drastic action and a sustainable redistribution of wealth to make a real dent in global inequality.

Covid-19 has left the world’s poorest at their most vulnerable; we cannot let that happen again.

The Leprosy Mission is 100% behind the SDGs and we call on our partners and supporters across the world to use Covid-19 as the starting point in the race to create a better world by 2030.

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