Pre-Collegiate Global Health Review
Fighting for the Greater Good: Improving the Quality of Healthcare in Developing Countries
Neha Panyala, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Desperate times call for desperate measures. As many developing countries face the disadvantage of outdated and inefficient forms of healthcare, there is a need to upgrade the overall standard. 1 billion people have little or no access to healthcare and 6.3 million children die each year primarily from preventable diseases (VillageReach, 2018). According to the World Health Organization, 22 countries will need to rebuild their entire healthcare system due to instability (AFD, 2019). Although adequate funding is donated by many foreign investments from organizations such as the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Health Organization, the disparities still persist among poor citizens of developing nations (Harvard Health Policy Review, 2016). Inconsistencies include prohibitive costs, doctor shortages, lack of medicine, water, and electricity, which obstruct the possibility of providing quality healthcare for all (AFD, 2019). People are openly choosing to avoid receiving healthcare altogether.
In order for distinct changes to be made, the funds should be distributed to address the most neglected matters regarding healthcare, including the quality of the treatment centers, geographic accessibility, the availability of medical devices, financial accessibility, and acceptability of services (Peters et al., 2007). Countries, namely in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, are still experiencing wide gaps in access to basic healthcare (World Health Organization, 2017). Ironically, even if immunizations and family services are accessible, the cost of this fundamental aid is a price too high for families experiencing extreme poverty in these countries (World Health Organization, 2017).
VillageReach is an organization that seeks to transform health care delivery to all. The organization developed an open-source technology called OpenLMIS to distribute health-related products to inaccessible places. So far, there are more than 10,000 health facilities across Sub-Saharan Africa using OpenLMIS, and their work has impacted over 46 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa (VillageReach, 2018). In the healthcare field, applications like OpenLMIS increase the accessibility of proper care and materials, since identification of a patient’s medical history is important to properly treat them (Health Management, 2020). Giving this opportunity to first aid clinics and hospitals in developing nations allows them to receive more patients and expend less energy on tedious tasks.
Apart from utilizing technology, education is an essential part of repairing current healthcare models. Investing in education for children enables them to pursue safer occupations, gain a better understanding about personal health, take preventive healthcare measures, and recognize the importance of quality healthcare (Elgarten, 2017). Governments should provide these resources to all students, regardless of gender and literacy level in health topics. For many of us, overcoming a common cold is simple because we are aware of the symptoms that a cold presents. However, symptoms like congestion, runny nose, fatigue, or high temperature could imply the prognosis of other types of infections in underdeveloped countries. According to the World Health Organization (2021), highly transmissible illnesses in low-income countries are rooted in the lack of health education. Currently, they are working to reform schools to promote health, teaching students about health issues and preventative strategies (World Health Organization, 2021). This eye-opening experience supports young children taking a step towards a better future, possibly motivating them to serve as a nurse or doctor for their communities.
Moreover, establishing a proper method to distinguish between the classes in society is vital. People in developing countries have a higher risk of battling preventable diseases, including Malaria, Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malnutrition. These illnesses are either contracted or develop because of a weak immune system due to the surrounding environment (Singh & Singh, 2008). In order to address these diseases, the costs and accessibility of basic treatment must be improved. Countries like Brazil have developed an essential generic drug industry that has helped the government in its effort to provide free antiretroviral medications to all individuals in need (NIH, 2010). Cuba exports their medical aid by sending their doctors to countries such as Haiti, Pakistan, and Honduras (NIH, 2010). In the U.S, offering Medicaid to those experiencing poverty has reduced the health inclusive poverty rate by 3.8%, and is estimated to lower child poverty rates by 5.3% (Wagnerman, 2018). Medicaid has equipped lower-class citizens with access to affordable healthcare coverage by decreasing out-of-pocket costs (Wagnerman, 2018). With the aim of confronting this issue, targeted programs should be provided to deprived citizens, so they can become eligible for healthcare benefit assistance. Priority should be given based on disadvantaged economical or geographical backgrounds, if they are in a certain age category in need, or they have a sickness that is a threat to the community (Elgarten, 2017).
Regardless of upbringing, healthcare is a right that everyone should have. Governments should expand and allocate their attention accordingly to ensure that individuals are able to receive the care they deserve. As the administration of medicine advances, it is our generation’s duty to advance outdated structures and innovate.
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