Next year, along with fighting against COVID-19, countries would also have to work hard to repair as well as reinforce their health systems.
Global health issues 2021: In light of the devastating coronavirus pandemic that struck the world this year, global health agency the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed out several global health issues that need to be tracked next year. As the year is about to end, WHO is worried that the pandemic can negate the global health progress that has been made over the past 20 years. It stated that next year, along with fighting against COVID-19, countries would also have to work hard to repair as well as reinforce their health systems. Here are the issues that WHO is worried about.
Coronavirus impact on global health progress: Issues to look out for
- Access to tests, medicines, vaccines for COVID-19: The WHO said that the priority in the year to come would be to ensure that all the countries have access to effective and safe tests, vaccines as well as medicines to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Providing these tools to the countries that need them would be important in ending the acute phase that the pandemic is in currently, the agency said. While several effective tools are in the pipeline right now, the agency said that the immediate challenge before it was to arrange for the remaining funds to help countries access these resources.
- Getting countries together for collective health security: The global health agency said that the coronavirus pandemic has taught everyone a lesson – no one is safe until everyone is safe. While countries should continue improving their own strategies for healthcare, in which the WHO would be assisting them, it was also important to bring all the countries together and build worldwide health security. For this, the agency said that it would help in tackling the health emergencies that have cropped up in humanitarian settings and have intensified due to the pandemic. It would also use existing partnerships and forge new relationships in order to expand the workforce to deal with global health emergencies, and also train them as well as standardise high-quality medical and health assistance.
- Ensuring advance health for all: COVID-19 has shown the world what happens when the healthcare systems are ignored, the agency said, asserting that next year, WHO would work closely with its partners to ensure a strengthened healthcare system in all the countries, which would lead to a more effective response to the pandemic. Moreover, the aim is also to build a healthcare system in all countries which would provide all the essential health services to every citizen close to their homes while ensuring that they don’t fall into poverty.
- Health inequities: Currently, there is glaring disparity in healthcare access between and within countries. To tackle that, the WHO has decided that in 2021, it would use its database and advance the universal health coverage initiative. Moreover, its work with countries to monitor as well as address issues like differences in healthcare access on the basis of gender, ethnicity, income, education, occupation, etc, would continue, the agency asserted.
- Prevention and treatment of Non-communicable diseases and mental health conditions: According to the latest estimates of WHO, non-communicable diseases led to seven of the top 10 causes of death last year. The importance of proper screening as well as treatment for non-communicable diseases like heart diseases, cancer and diabetes was further highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic, when patients suffering from these conditions became more vulnerable during the pandemic. Working in this regard would be a major focus for the agency next year, WHO said.