Global healthcare systems unprepared for another pandemic, research shows

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Global healthcare systems unprepared for another pandemic, research shows

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A lack of preparedness, financial support and trained professionals may leave health systems vulnerable to collapse in the event of another global health emergency, according to a survey commissioned by the World Innovation Summit for Health. (Image: Southworks/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

By Dental Tribune International

Wed. 5. October 2022

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DOHA, Qatar: A survey commissioned by the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) has found that healthcare systems in both developed and developing countries would not be prepared for another pandemic, should one emerge in the next five years. As well as reporting this lack of preparedness, the healthcare workers surveyed cited a shortage of financial support and qualified staff as factors that could expose healthcare systems to the danger of collapsing in the event of another global health emergency.

The survey asked healthcare professionals in Brazil, India, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US about their workplace and profession and sought to gain an insight into the impact that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has had on their lives. Nearly half (49%) of all respondents said that a lack of preparedness is one of the greatest threats facing their national health system. When respondents were asked about the factors that may leave health systems vulnerable to collapse in the event of a new pandemic, 60% identified a lack of financial support and 55% pointed to a shortage of trained professionals. An inability to provide sufficient support to patients was identified by 44% of respondents as posing a significant threat to national health systems.

In a press release, WISH CEO Sultana Afdhal commented: “Our findings spotlight some of the critical challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced upon us over the last two years, and which those that care for us are still trying to mitigate today. As an advocate for a healthier world through global collaboration, we urge governments, industry leaders, and policymakers to take these insights and work towards building next-generation health systems that are better equipped to meet similar challenges in the future, in order to improve the standard of care and, crucially, to ease the burden felt by our healthcare workforce.”

“Our findings spotlight some of the critical challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced upon us over the last two years”

Afdhal continued: “The current pandemic has strained health systems to create urgent response measures such as increasing capacity, enhancing infection control, moving to remote models of care, and enabling mass vaccination, among others. There is a need to take stock of the challenges and for enablers to respond at a national level, as well as create opportunities for accelerating the sharing of strategies internationally.”

A WISH report published this year sought to identify the gaps in healthcare systems that were exposed during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and proposed recommendations to governments and policy makers in order to shore up their healthcare systems. According to the report, short-term actions that governments should take include developing multisectoral preparedness plans with key objectives and responsibilities. In the medium term, governments should identify weaknesses that were exposed during the current pandemic, adapt care models, improve information systems and strengthen the workforce. In the longer term, structural and regulatory changes should be made in order to improve health system resilience.

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