Why ensuring good health is important to us
Health and well-being of individuals and civilizations is the cornerstone of ensuring continuity of prosperous societies and of humankind. Health is a primary concern of an individual, for the sake of survival and endurance. With evolution and development, new illnesses have risen. However, with development in technology and medical sciences, new cures and treatments have also become available. However, access to healthcare is not available for everyone. Both due to lack of healthcare facilities as well as non affordability of such facilities. As per the Sustainable Development Goals Report-2020, in 2017, only one third of the world population was covered under the essential healthcare services.
Meaning that two thirds of the world population did not have healthcare insurance guarantees by the government and therefore being in a bracket of people who have to go to greater lengths in order to afford it.
There is a requirement for efforts which are gender-sensitive, rights-aware, intersectional and cross-sectoral, in order to address and reduce such disparities and inequalities. This approach opens up a clearer path to lay a foundation for good health. The current pandemic has not only deteriorated and tested the existing healthcare system, but has also clearly shown the inefficiencies and gaps in the operation and distribution of healthcare faculties.
Progress made so far has been in areas of healthcare in the ways of reducing spread of infectious diseases, increased immunization, and reducing maternal and infant mortality rate. Healthy people lead to healthy economies.
Understanding the root cause of bad health and ill-being
The inaccessibility to healthcare stems from economic and financial backwardness. This along with low quality facilities adversely affect the already vulnerable groups. The distribution of healthcare resources also lacks inclusivity which further harms people who suffer from unavailability.
According to UNDP, despite some substantial improvement in a few nations, behind the average estimates lies latent grave disparities of around a 31 year gap between the country with the longest life expectancy and the shortest life expectancy.
Maternal health, women’s health and child health have become major indicators of a nation’s well-being. According to the Sustainable Development Goals Report-2020, the progress made so far in reducing neonatal and infant mortality rate, as well as immunization for children, is under threat of reversal due to the pandemic.
The pandemic has weakened healthcare accessibility across the world, while jeopardizing vulnerable communities ever more. It has slowed down the progress made so far. With rapid use of medical resources, surge in demand of healthcare professionals, and insufficient healthcare facilities, the world is facing a healthcare shortage. This has been especially devastating for poor countries which had already been lacking in necessary resources to combat covid. A recent data dashboard from UNDP also observes disparities in a nation’s ability to cope with the Coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has also provided a picture of the declining well-being of individuals as more and more people become susceptible to the infection. It has also increased significance and pressure on the need for immunization. And irrespective of disparities in wealth of a nation, the pandemic has the capability to push people of both rich and poor nations further into bankruptcy.
Changemakers fighting for Good Health and Wellbeing
Healthcare is a system that is widely spread, across the world and carries out a vital role in sustaining a society. There are different elements and faculties involved with the healthcare system, which require either an improvement or accessibility in various backward areas across the world. Individuals, Government and the Civil society come to aid in times such as these to bridge the disparities in availability of healthcare.
The UN driven, World Health Organization (WHO) brings together the member states to connect and support each other in ensuring global well-being. The Global Health Council is another worldwide network based organization that brings together global members in order to distribute healthcare support and ensure awareness and education regarding the same, throughout the world. There are regional organizations such as Armman and White Ribbon Alliance in India which focus on maternal and reproductive health.
AMREF Health Africa and VillageReach are based in Africa which uses grassroot level networks to spread necessary health facilities across the region. Faith based organizations such as International Child Care, a christian organization for health development focuses on infant and children health.
What you can do as a transformer
To assist progress in matching the goal, there is a need for improving access to and quality of healthcare facilities. Interventions such as immunization have been taken up to ensure well-being of adults and children alike across various deprived countries.
What you as a transformer for the society can do, is use social advocacy, philanthropy and entrepreneurial/business ideas in an innovative manner to provide a progressive direction for reaching the goal. Instances of which are as follows:
- Education regarding importance of vaccines, of sex education, of hygiene and sanitation etc
- Provide support to a vulnerable group of people and ensure that their rights are being upheld in a healthcare system
- Call for benefit packages for employees and workers in both formal and informal economy
- Expansion of financial aid towards education and provision of necessary medical resources
- Health equity as a lens for partnerships and grants, including LGBT community centers, etc.
- Donor relations and affordable recovery
- Technologically driven ease in accessing healthcare and infrastructure for efficient delivery of personal healthcare
- Increase access to primary health care in low resource settings
- Increase reach through the means of telemedicine, mobile units etc
United Nations (2020). The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020. New York: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved from https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2020/