Global Health

How partnerships help create more resilient and collaborative health systems

The PHSSR is an opportunity to create resilient and strong healthcare systems based on collaboration and knowledge exchange

The PHSSR is an opportunity to create resilient and strong healthcare systems based on collaboration and knowledge exchange Image: REUTERS

Iskra Reic
Executive Vice-President, Vaccines and Immune Therapies Unit, AstraZeneca
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Global Health

This article is part of: Centre for Health and Healthcare
  • Greater collaboration among health stakeholders could help strained healthcare systems fight future health crises such as pandemics
  • AstraZeneca, The Word Economic Forum and London School of Economics have partnered to create PHSSR, which helps countries strengthen their healthcare systems
  • PHSSR provides healthcare tools and resources for research, as well as platforms to share knowledge and allow for the easy adoption of solutions

This week AstraZeneca will bring together current and former health ministers, former world leaders, government experts, academics, and private sector partners for a global Healthcare System Resilience Summit at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Summit will be hosted from the Sweden national pavilion, during the Expo's dedicated Health Week. AstraZeneca sees this as the perfect opportunity to progress their Collaboration for a Healthier World Expo agenda.

The Summit is convened to add greater urgency to the goals of the Partnership for Health System Sustainability and Resilience (PHSSR), which was founded in 2020 alongside The World Economic Forum and London School of Economics (LSE).

Learning from past crises to find solutions for current health challenges

The partnership draws on lessons from the 2008 financial crisis and applies these to today’s pandemic. In 2008, global financial markets were reeling from the immediate crisis and, while short-term intervention from governments and the private sector was essential, fundamental structural reform was needed to prevent recurrences.

Applying this logic, the Partnership takes a rigorous, academic approach to building health system resilience and sustainability in both the short- and longer-term. Importantly, it establishes a framework against which resilience is measured. These measurements happen across five key domains – funding, workforce, governance, service delivery, and medicines and technology.

The framework, devised by LSE, allows local academic partners to conduct detailed analyses of the resilience of the health systems of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, the U.K, and Vietnam.

The Summit will welcome and celebrate the addition of thirteen more countries into the Partnership. These include Japan, Portugal, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Switzerland. New private sector partners include Philips, Apollo Hospitals, and KPMG.

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The evolving nature of health systems

Over the last two years, the work of the Partnership has shown how health systems are adapting and innovating to meet patients’ needs. This includes remote digital treatment solutions, online patient consultations, and running remote clinical trials.

Innovations from the pharmaceutical industry, too, are helping relieve pressure on healthcare systems, with new medicines helping patients stay out of hospital.

Even so, innovation alone isn't enough to address some fundamental challenges to health systems. Even before the strain of COVID-19 on health systems, many countries were already facing up to the pressures of a rise in non-communicable diseases. So too, a decline in the global healthcare workforce, and added financial pressure from curtailed investments in preventative care, have compounded pressures on health systems.

Pressure points and solutions through partnerships

In the UK alone, it is expected that the number of people waiting for treatment could reach 9 million over the next year, returning to pre-pandemic levels only by 2025. Meanwhile, in the USA, the National Cancer Institute warns that the Covid-19 related drop in screening for breast and colorectal cancer may lead to an additional 10,000 deaths in the next decade.

These challenges are creating greater urgency among health stakeholders and many around the world are searching for solutions. The Partnership framework offers an opportunity for a rigorous analysis of our health systems. Through such a collaboration, many countries are empowered to look into and adequately respond to the many strains on our health systems.

To find out more and join the Partnership please visit: https://www.weforum.org/phssr

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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