4 changes for sustainable health systems that put people first
The COVID-19 crisis has affected more than 188 countries and regions worldwide, causing large-scale loss of life and severe human suffering. The crisis poses a major threat to the global economy, with drops in activity, employment, and consumption worse than those seen during the 2008 financial crisis. COVID-19 has also exposed weaknesses in our health systems that must be addressed. How?
For a start, greater investment in population health would make people, particularly vulnerable population groups, more resilient to health risks. The health and socio-economic consequences of the virus are felt more acutely among disadvantaged populations, stretching a social fabric already challenged by high levels of inequalities. The crisis demonstrates the consequences of poor investment in addressing wider social determinants of health, including poverty, low education and unhealthy lifestyles. Despite much talk of the importance of health promotion, even across the richer OECD countries barely 3% of total health spending is devoted to prevention. Building resilience for populations also requires a greater focus on solidarity and redistribution in social protection systems to address underlying structural inequalities and poverty. You can aslo take a look at different demonstration speech ideas on public health.
Beyond creating greater resilience in populations, health systems must be strengthened.
High-quality universal health coverage (UHC) is paramount. High levels of household out-of-pocket payments for health goods and services deter people from seeking early diagnosis and treatment at the very moment they need it most. Facing the COVID-19 crisis, many countries have strengthened access to health care, including coverage for diagnostic testing. Yet others do not have strong UHC arrangements. The pandemic reinforced the importance of commitments made in international fora, such as the 2019 High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, that well-functioning health systems require a deliberate focus on high-quality UHC. Such systems protect people from health threats, impoverishing health spending, and unexpected surges in demand for care. Writing a good rhetorical analysis essay on public health is a perfect idea.
Second, primary and elder care must be reinforced. COVID-19 presents a double threat for people with chronic conditions. Not only are they at greater risk of severe complications and death due to COVID-19; but also the crisis creates unintended health harm if they forgo usual care, whether because of disruption in services, fear of infections, or worries about burdening the health system. Strong primary health care maintains care continuity for these groups. With some 94% of deaths caused by COVID-19 among people aged over 60 in high-income countries, the elder care sector is also particularly vulnerable, calling for efforts to enhance control of infections, support and protect care workers and better coordinate medical and social care for frail elderly.
Third, the crisis demonstrates the importance of equipping health systems with both reserve capacity and agility. There is an historic underinvestment in the health workforce, with estimated global shortages of 18 million health professionals worldwide, mostly in low- and middle-income countries. Beyond sheer numbers, rigid health labour markets make it difficult to respond rapidly to demand and supply shocks. One way to address this is by creating a “reserve army” of health professionals that can be quickly mobilised. The essay format on essays on public health should always be perfect one.
Some countries have allowed medical students in their last year of training to start working immediately, fast-tracked licenses and provided exceptional training. Others have mobilised pharmacists and care assistants. Storing a reserve capacity of supplies such as personal protection equipment, and maintaining care beds that can be quickly transformed into critical care beds, is similarly important.
Fourth, stronger health data systems are needed. The crisis has accelerated innovative digital solutions and uses of digital data, smartphone applications to monitor quarantine, robotic devices, and artificial intelligence to track the virus and predict where it may appear next. Access to telemedicine has been made easier. Yet more can be done to leverage standardised national electronic health records to extract routine data for real-time disease surveillance, clinical trials, and health system management. Barriers to full deployment of telemedicine, the lack of real-time data, of interoperable clinical record data, of data linkage capability and sharing within health and with other sectors remain to be addressed. However, do explore some fine cause and effect essay on public health.