How the pandemic reinvigorated the fight for equal health

Sometimes it takes a crisis to spur change.

The shock of seeing persistent global health inequalities worsening health, economic and social outcomes in the most vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted creative thinking and innovative solutions to address those gaps.

This dynamic provides a unique opportunity for the global health care system, together with governments and the private sector, to build on the progress made during the crisis and apply them to other diseases. and social determinants leading to health inequalities. As stated in our report Closing the health equity gap, the experience of the pandemic has provided four key lessons that could shape this effort: (1) data collection and analysis should be the first step; (2) approaches need to be adapted to the community; (3) digital technology is an essential tool; and (4) impact amplification partnerships.

COVID has spurred unprecedented efforts to collect and analyze data to understand the disease, track its spread, develop treatments, and evaluate their effectiveness. A case in point is the data-sharing agreement between Pfizer and Israel. It enables the collection and analysis of real-world evidence that not only shows the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine, but continues to provide insights that inform our understanding of the virus and vaccination, and help shape public policy.

The data know-how collected and deployed during the pandemic has applications far beyond COVID. Healthcare players can — and have begun — put data to work to uncover where differences exist so outreach and response efforts can target communities with needs and monitor the performance of the resulting initiatives.

The data know-how collected and deployed during the pandemic has applications far beyond COVID.

The rapid spread of misinformation about the virus, coupled with vaccine hesitancy – largely stemmed from skepticism that previous unethical medical research has passed on to many minority communities. – made it clear early on that community engagement is necessary to build trust among disadvantaged people. That participation is essential to ensure that accurate information, testing and vaccination services reach the most vulnerable. From pro-vaccine social media campaigns aimed at the Maori people of New Zealand to vaccination trucks sent to underserved areas in Brazil, a range of interactive initiatives regulated communities have arisen during the pandemic.

Such initiatives have enormous potential to improve health outcomes in a variety of contexts. For example, patient advisory boards can help pharmaceutical companies identify and overcome potential barriers to access among certain patient groups early in product development. A public health initiative targeting obesity could partner with local gyms or grocery stores.

Perhaps the most obvious consequence of the pandemic has been the rapid adoption and use of virtual healthcare. Another is pharmaceutical companies that are moving into remote drug testing. In both cases, the pandemic-induced adoption of digital technology has ramifications beyond COVID, allowing rural communities and underserved communities to access care. care and participate in clinical trials.

The full potential of these digital technologies can only be achieved if vulnerable populations can afford to access them. This is a perfect example of how social determinants, in this case income and access to high-speed networks, can create health inequalities.

No one organization can address these inequalities on its own. Here again, the pandemic has illuminated the way forward: partnerships. Unprecedented collaboration between governments and the pharmaceutical industry has led to the rapid development of a COVID vaccine. Or consider the outside thinking that has enabled businesses to deploy their skills and resources alongside partners in healthcare and other industries so that vulnerable communities can can receive personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID tests, treatments, and vaccines. In Australia, for example, a mining company used its supply chain infrastructure to deliver hand sanitizer and masks to outback towns. In the US, a car-sharing company offers free rides to vaccination appointments for people who don’t have transportation. Outside of the pandemic context, these kinds of innovative, socially-oriented solutions can offer organizations the opportunity to develop new ways to deliver on their environmental, social and governance promises. (ESG).

Addressing health inequality and the social factors that drive it requires investment, but doing so will ultimately yield huge returns — in the form of better individual health, workforce operate more efficiently and reduce the economic burden of chronic disease through improved access to health care products and services.

The pandemic has illustrated that health equity is not only good when it is; It is essential for a well-functioning economy and society. Building creative thinking and pandemic-induced innovations into our ongoing recovery will not only improve human health, but also help the world grow stronger socially and economy. And it will put us in a better position to lessen the impact of future public health crises, regardless of their origin.

Author Biography:

  • Ron Chopoorian is the global health industry leader for PwC. Based in New Jersey, he is a partner of PwC US.
  • Sarah Butler is the global health services leader for PwC. Based in Sydney, she is a partner of PwC Australia.

Source link


News7h: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button