How can we deliver sustainable healthcare? 3 industry leaders lay out solutions 

A member of the medical personnel works as patients suffering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are treated at CHIREC Delta Hospital in Brussels, Belgium, April 18, 2020. Disruption in essential health services during the pandemic resulted in a drop in immunisation coverage for the first time in a decade
Disruption in essential health services during the pandemic resulted in a drop in immunisation coverage for the first time in a decade.
Image: REUTERS/Yves Herman
  • Achieving sustainable healthcare and delivering equitable health services worldwide is a growing concern.
  • Disruption in essential health services during the pandemic resulted in a drop in immunisation coverage for the first time in a decade and increased deaths from tuberculosis and malaria, the UN reports.
  • Three industry leaders tackling the massive challenge of delivering sustainable healthcare talk about making a real-world difference.

How can we ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages?

Achieving sustainable healthcare and delivering equitable health services worldwide is a growing concern, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic "threatening decades of progress", as stated by the United Nations.

Disruption in essential health services during the pandemic resulted in a drop in immunisation coverage for the first time in a decade and increased deaths from tuberculosis and malaria.

Additionally, the prevalence of anxiety and depression saw an upward trend, as indicated in the UN's Sustainable Development Goal Report 2022.

As global disruptions continue, the healthcare industry faces additional challenges, with Monkeypox declared a public health emergency and the resurgence of polio in parts of the United Kingdom and the United States.

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic threaten decades of progress in global health. Image: UN
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic threaten decades of progress in global health. Image: UN
Image: UN

The role of climate change further exacerbates the situation for more than half of human diseases caused by pathogens, as revealed by a recent study published in Nature Climate Change.

The paper found that diseases such as Zika, malaria, dengue, chikungunya, and even Covid-19 have been aggravated by climate impacts such as heatwaves, wildfires, extreme rainfall and floods.

With this background, we asked three industry leaders about how to tackle this massive challenge and the initiatives they endorse to make health more sustainable on the ground.

Here are their responses.

'Partnering for long-term sustainability'
Christophe Weber, President and Chief Executive Officer, Takeda Pharmaceutical

At Takeda, we see value-based healthcare as a framework for building more sustainable health systems. The value-based approach can transform healthcare systems by putting patients at the centre and allocating resources to the most valuable care.

To make value-based healthcare work, we need to consistently measure health outcomes, i.e., whether or not each patient actually gets better after treatment. With these data, we can identify which treatments work best in the real world and which ones to allocate resources to for the greatest health benefit to society.

Successful transition to a value-based system will not be simple; much work must be done together.

"The value-based approach can transform healthcare systems by putting patients at the centre and allocating resources to the most valuable care."

—Christophe Weber, President and Chief Executive Officer, Takeda Pharmaceutical

Takeda co-founded a public-private partnership called the Health Outcome Observatories (H2O) to collect outcome data – reported, owned and controlled by the patients themselves – in independent, not-for-profit data observatories. From the observatories, the outcome data can be shared with health systems and for other purposes according to patients' wishes.

The vision of H2O is to help realise value-based healthcare by showing the best value treatments for patients and health systems. With patient-reported outcomes at the centre, it really should be possible to run health systems more sustainably, now and into the future.

'Partnering to build resilient and sustainable health systems'
Stefan Weber, Global Head of Policy, AstraZeneca

The pandemic exacerbated long-standing cracks in our health systems, highlighting the need to take decisive action to ensure they withstand future crises.

First established in 2020 by the London School of Economics (LSE), World Economic Forum and AstraZeneca, and now active in more than 20 countries, the Partnership for Health System Sustainability and Resilience (PHSSR) is one strong example of collective action toward this goal. Through its partners in these countries, the PHSSR builds global knowledge on how to build more resilient health systems in a post-COVID-19 world and is a catalyst for action where it is most needed.

From new models of care to innovative financing mechanisms and ways to harness breakthrough technologies, the PHSSR brings public and private sector organisations together to identify transferrable solutions and support their adoption to deliver better health for all.

Research results and descriptions of change projects are available worldwide and will be discussed at the virtual 2022 PHSSR Global Summit from 22-23 November. We look forward to joining the global healthcare community on this occasion in our ambition to build stronger health systems together.

'Holistic end-to-end approach for equitable access'
Lutz Hegemann, President, Global Health & Sustainability, Novartis

Novartis has a compelling vision for the future of global health - where access to medicine worldwide is truly enabled, no matter where you live or were born.

What's needed is a holistic end-to-end approach that embraces the many complexities and barriers to access.

Equitable access is about reimagining medicine through a sustainable ecosystem and going beyond philanthropy to make global health an integral part of any core business mandate. It's about forging public-private partnerships that address unmet needs and build the capacity of national health systems.

These principles are the cornerstone of our work, including the Novartis Sickle Cell Disease Program in sub-Saharan Africa - a sector-leading blueprint for future engagement in global health.

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a life-threatening condition with chronic debilitating manifestations. It is regarded by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a public health priority in sub-Saharan Africa, where 80% of babies with SCD globally are born.

In sub-Saharan Africa, Novartis is delivering a sector-leading blueprint for future engagement in global health with its Sickle Cell Disease Program.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Novartis is delivering a sector-leading blueprint for future engagement in global health with its Sickle Cell Disease Program.
Image: Novartis

First launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019, Novartis has since forged collaborations with governments, advocacy groups, professional societies and other organisations in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and Angola to tackle SCD end-to-end jointly.

The program includes working with local partners to deliver newborn screening, diagnosis, treatment, and training for healthcare workers. Highlights include working with the Government of Ghana to reimburse the current standard of care and launching a child-friendly formulation for broader access.

Patients and communities deserve sustainable care that's accessible.

Together, we can help ensure health systems are ready to make the most out of innovation for the benefit of patient populations across the globe.

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