Sunday, January 16

The new normal of healthcare and its effect on the economy


The global economy is projected to grow 6% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022. After a year in which a new respiratory virus left the world bruised and battered, at first glance these numbers seem like the promise of a new beginning and a new hope. The reality is much more nuanced and complicated, which became clear when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reviewed the details of its global economic outlook in July this year.

The general forecast for 2021 remained unchanged, but existing global failures and inequalities widened, as shown by the IMF which raised growth expectations for advanced economies by 0.5% and downgraded the expected performance of emerging economies and under development by 0.4%.

These compensatory adjustments reflect differences in the evolution of the pandemic and policy changes, the The IMF said in your prospects document.

According to the report, access to vaccines and the implementation of vaccination remains the most critical issue for the global economic recovery.

In May of this year, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization of the World Health Organization (WHO) met on Covid-19 vaccines. In that meeting the group said that inequity in vaccine availability is decreasing slightly, but noted that high-income countries have administered “69 times more doses per capita” than low-income countries.

According to the WHO, 31.4 million doses have been administered in 50 African states, which means that only 2% of the African adult population have received a single dose.

In South Africa, at least, there are signs that inequity is being addressed and that we are moving in the right direction, says Dr. Evangelos Apostoleris, a specialist urologist and consultant for Life Healthcare.

It lists several factors that are positive indicators, such as developed nations announcing that they will release more vaccines to underserved areas, manufacturers’ commitments for doses destined for the continent, as well as local manufacturing of Johnson and Johnson vaccine by Aspen, and the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine from Biovac.

For Dr. Apostoleris, it should be urgent to accelerate the vaccine program so that capacity can be freed up to focus once again on South Africa’s largest healthcare system.

“When you look at health care and move South Africa forward in this regard, it is not just Covid-19 related issues that should receive attention. It’s also the non-Covid-19 issues that need to be addressed. The social determinants of health, for example, ”he says. “Simple things, like the conditions in which the population lives, access to running water, access to primary health care, all of this has taken a step back.”

Dr. Apostoleris will moderate the Healthcare Industry Outlook 2021 for the Gordon Institute of Business Sciences (GIBS), where he is a student, at the end of the month. Topics such as the business of vaccine manufacturing and the challenges and changes in healthcare due to Covid-19 will be discussed.

Among the issues that will be the object of attention are these second-order effects of the pandemic and its impact on the health system.

The impact and cost of mental health issues and the challenges of deferred care due to Covid-19 are two aspects that Dr. Apostoleris believes will be unpacked and discussed for quite some time.

“In terms of the second-order effects of Covid-19, I think the mental health is huge. So many people have been affected in so many different ways, more than you could have imagined, ”he says.

Prevalence of anxiety increased significantly in 2020

Source: oecd.org

Prevalence of depression increased significantly in 2020

Source: oecd.org

McKinsey & Company has again made a study in the US warning that the likely increase in substance use disorders possibly caused by the mental health stressors of Covid-19 could have a significant impact on the health costs of treatments to help these patients.

The consultancy extrapolates data from its surveys and research, and predicts that a potential 50% increase in the prevalence of behavioral health conditions could generate between $ 100 billion and $ 140 billion of additional spending in the first year after initiation. of Covid-19.

“Deferred care, and how it will affect the healthcare system locally and globally, is another concern,” says Dr. Apostoleris.

Patients and people who were thinking of seeking medical advice on a problem in late 2019 or early 2020 could have postponed that visit and aftercare, he says.

Treatment options for the underlying medical condition may be different now than they were 18 months ago.

It has never been more important for the public and private sector to work together to address these new challenges, as well as the inequalities that existed in the South African healthcare system even before Covid-19. It can’t just be business as usual, we need a unique new operating system to address these challenges.

“Cooperation is required to manage patient care as we move into the third wave,” says Dr. Apostoleris, adding that the real partnership opportunity lies, however, in dealing with the backlog in general healthcare. that will remain after the pandemic subsides.

“Whether it’s routine screening procedures, elective surgery, or endoscopes that are required to seek evidence and treatment of medical conditions … There will be a significant workload that needs to be addressed and that’s where we can work together,” he says. .

“It is important, you need to have a healthy nation and quality health care to move South Africa forward.”

For more information on GIBS / PPS Healthcare Industry Insights 2021, click here.

Presented by the Gordon Institute of Business Sciences (GIBS).

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