A World Bank report urged developing economies to pour in more resources into quality primary health care (PHC) to effectively address future health crises and flatten the curve during a health emergency like Covid-19.
The pandemic exposed severe weaknesses in health systems globally and exacerbated gaps in quality and service of health care.
The WB said better PHC can provide improved measures such as surveillance, testing and contact tracing, community outreach and vaccine coverage, and in keeping hospitals from overflowing with critically ill patients. It emphasized that increase in financing by both countries and donors can yield high returns and promote resiliency and sustainability.
WB vice president for human development Mamta Murthi said the pandemic has inflicted devastating health and economic costs but it also created a once-in-a-generation chance for transformational health system changes.
Further, the WB called on governments to recommit in improving people’s health, achieving universal health coverage, and preventing future health crises.
Developing countries were urged to shift from inequity to fairness and accountability and from fragility to resilience. To help deliver a better PHC, the multilateral lender has committed to accelerate access to financing by combining financial backing for reforms with policy and technical advice.
The stresses and problems our health care system has endured over the past year and a half emphasized the need to invest and embark on the transformation of an already crumbling health care system that has been exposed as largely inadequate by the pandemic.
Surviving the Covid-19 pandemic may be the goal for some public officials but that will not be enough, so work must begin on the improvement of primary health care in the country so Filipinos can be afforded better care, in good times and even if another health crisis inevitably occurs.*