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Health systems “unfit to cope” with another pandemic, research shows 

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Almost half (49 per cent) of healthcare workers agree that health systems lack preparation for managing another health emergency.

 Global health systems are “not ready” and likely won’t cope with another health emergency such as a pandemic, a survey has suggested. 

Poor funding, staff shortages, and inadequate preparation have all been blamed for current pressures, ultimately making health systems around the world unfit to cope with another pandemic. 

Lack of preparation for another pandemic

The survey questioned healthcare professionals in countries including the UK, US, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India, and Brazil – all of which agreed that “lack of preparation” is one of the biggest threats facing their national health systems – should another pandemic 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.

Health system risk factors include lack of talent  

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

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

“Critical challenges” for another pandemic

Sultana Afdhal, CEO of WISH, told Health Tech World: “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.”

Urgent response measures 

 He added: “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.”

WISH summit

WISH is a global platform which gathers healthcare experts, policymakers, and innovators to unite in the goal of building a healthier world. The biennial WISH Summit aims to showcase evidence-based research and discuss how to translate these findings into practical, policy-driven solutions that help transform global healthcare delivery.

The sixth edition of the summit is set to take place on October 4 – 6 in Doha, Qatar and virtually, under the banner of “Healing the Future.” 

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