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Challenges Health

Read more about the different challenges below:

Costs and accessibility of healthcare and medicines
Due to increased demand for care and (new) medicines (caused by the rise of increasing chronic illness such as diabetes and cancer, an increasing and aging population and unhealthy lifestyles), healthcare costs are a major challenge globally.
Around a third of people globally lack access to essential medicines, vaccines or diagnostic tools.

Emphasis on prevention, diagnosis and early intervention
Currently only 3% of healthcare budgets are allocated to public information and prevention of hospital intake, while avoiding chronic lifestyle diseases could have substantial positive effects: reducing costs, improving public health and mitigating environmental damage through less hospitalization. An aging population, multimorbidity (people with multiple conditions), unhealthy habits and climate change lead to increasing pressure on the healthcare sector that can be reduced by investing more in prevention and early diagnosis and intervention. Currently only 3% of the healthcare budgets go to action on prevention.

Integrating digitalization
Technology is disrupting traditional care models and is vital for integrating care networks, for example those outside the hospital and closer to home. This is beneficial for the patients as well as the healthcare sector. Examples are platforms or devices that enhance self-care, monitoring devices that connect patients to physicians and networks of patients that help each other. In order to reap these benefits, technology should be adequately internalised in healthcare systems.

Negative health effects of climate change
Climate change and other environmental issues significantly impact health outcomes. Air pollution kills an estimated 7 million people yearly, and climate change causes hazardous weather events, exacerbates malnutrition and adds to the spread of infectious diseases. The threat or reality of climate change also has a negative impact on mental health. Therefore climate change poses a future challenge for the healthcare sector, especially for underdeveloped countries.

Improving (access to) mental health services
Prevalence of mental illnesses and their side-effects has risen in the past years. This is a global trend, which is currently unmet as a global challenge, due to a lack of access to mental healthcare systems, in both high income and low to middle income countries. Mental health issues contribute to a large proportion of the physical health issues as well, making it an even more important impact area. Finally, global crises like the current pandemic accelerate the trend of mental health disorders increase, demonstrating its urgency.