June 15, 2009

We’ve only got 4 minutes to save the world…4 minutes…eh

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:23 pm by healthyacrossthenations

Let us remember that there are many good reasons that there has been continued debate in the US about reforming the health system.

In such a decentralized health system, it is very difficult to help promote or protect the health of the public. Let us note that in today’s age of ease of travel internationally, unique warfare strategies, and larger milieu’s for people to gather- health crises can easily become epidemics- and pandemics (as we are currently seeing with the H1N1 strain of flu- AKA Swine Flu). As such- a community, state and nation has to be prepared to both prevent these crises from Progressing into more serious issues for the populace.

Below is an abstract of an Article by Yuanli Liu, at the time an Assistant Professor of International Health at Harvard School of Public Health. She is discussing the Decentralized and fragmented Health System in China- which is not unlike that in the US in its commercial orientation of the health care system. As a result of the similarities of the health systems – China when Yuanli wrote this- and the US now- I thought it appropriate to highlight the below section of her abstract. Note- this is scary reading folks, because we could easily be there soon- proportionately speaking poulation wise in terms of the number of uninsured:
“…The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) crisis in China revealed not only the failures of the Chinese health-care system but also some fundamental structural deficiencies. A decentralized and fragmented health system, such as the one found in China, is not well-suited to making a rapid and coordinated response to public health emergencies. The commercial orientation of the health sector on the supply-side and lack of health insurance coverage on the demand-side further exacerbate the problems of the under-provision of public services, such as health surveillance and preventive care. For the past 25 years, the Chinese Government has kept economic development at the top of the policy agenda at the expense of public health, especially in terms of access to health care for the 800 million people living in rural areas. A significant increase in government investment in the public health infrastructure, though long overdue, is not sufficient to solve the problems of the health-care system. China needs to reorganize its public health system by strengthening both the vertical and horizontal connections between its various public health organizations. China’s recent policy of establishing a matching-fund financed rural health insurance system presents an exciting opportunity to improve people’s access to health care.”


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