Global Health Systems Not Ready for Another Pandemic, Research Shows

Current pressures due to poor funding, staff shortages, and inadequate preparation mean that health systems around the world are unfit to cope with another pandemic, an international survey to assess the effects of COVID-19 on health and care workers has revealed.

49 percent of healthcare professionals surveyed in countries including the UK, US, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India, and Brazil agreed that lack of preparation is one of the biggest threats facing their national health systems if another pandemic were to tread on the heels of COVID-19 in the next five years.

The survey was commissioned by the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), the global health initiative of Qatar Foundation and was conducted by YouGov.

The research delved into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of health and care workers. It also attempted to understand the healthcare workers’ feelings about their workplace and profession while trying to explore what they foresee as the future of healthcare.

Looking at factors that leave global health systems vulnerable to failure in the event of a new pandemic, 60 percent of healthcare professionals recognized lack of financial support, along with 55 percent highlighting talent shortages as other major risk factors for health systems’ efficiency.

Additionally, 44 percent stated an inability to properly support patients also poses a significant threat to their national health systems.

“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,” said Sultana Afdhal, CEO of WISH.

“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,” Afdhal explained.

 

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