Statistics, numbers, percentages can help us see how far we’ve come, or how far we need to go. But it’s the story behind the number that reveals much more in Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR).
Health Systems Global has ten Thematic Working Groups (TWGs) which include researchers, decision makers and practitioners focusing on key issues in HPSR. Ahead of the Fifth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, they have shared the numbers that matter to them, and the story behind them. #WhatsYourNumber?
Globally, an estimated loss in human capital wealth due to gender inequality is $160.2 trillion, about twice the global GDP. In global health, gender dimensions are equally crucial. With 70% of the health workforce being women and as a sector with one of the largest gender pay gaps, young global health researchers and other change agents from lower and middle income countries are well placed to apply a gender lens on the journey towards universal health coverage for 7.4 billion people.
There are currently no specific guidance or criteria for the ethical review and conduct of HPSR. For this reason, research ethics committees at most institutions apply biomedical research ethics review criteria and guidelines to HPSR. This is problematic; many of the ethical issues and considerations that arise in HPSR differ from those in biomedical research. Tailored guidance, ethical review criteria, and support processes are urgently needed.
Fragile states will be home to over 60% of the world’s extreme poor by 2030. Addressing the particular challenges of improving health systems in fragile and conflict-affected settings is essential if we are to improve health and wellbeing for the most vulnerable populations and the extreme poor. This will be fundamental in ‘leaving no one behind’ in progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, and in ending poverty in all its forms everywhere.
Every two years the World Health Organization (WHO) reviews the latest scientific evidence on the efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness of all approved medicines in order to recommend which drugs are deemed essential for addressing the most important public health needs globally. The 2017 WHO Essential Medicines List includes 433 drugs deemed essential. However, access to and affordability of these medicines in many low- and middle-income countries are NOT guaranteed due to countries’ and patients’ financial constraints.
Infinity is the number of times proven interventions have failed to reach those who need them due to poor understanding of and engagement with the social, cultural and political realities that shape the health systems responsible for delivering them.
By 2030 it is estimated that there is a need for 18 million additional health workers. There are significant mismatches in the needs of, demand for and supply of health workers nationally, sub-nationally and globally. Efforts to scale up essential actions and programs to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals might be compromised by a massive shortage of health workers in some countries. This shortage is, in turn, also leading to an overreliance and burden on mid-level and community-based health workers.
There are 88 training opportunities in the Teaching and Learning Health Policy and Systems Research Thematic Working Group course database. This database is a repository of global training opportunities as well as course materials (e.g. reading lists, case studies, syllabi) for health policy and systems research teachers. We aim to expand the number of training opportunities, promoting the inclusion of more non-English language courses as well as courses offered online or in under-represented regions such as Latin America, the Middle East and the Western Pacific.
Over half of outpatient visits are in private providers in a large number of low and middle income countries. Policymakers need more information on their performance to involve them in achieving common public health goals such as Universal Health Coverage.
Approximately 85% of the research that goes to waste in the production and reporting of research evidence is avoidable. This cumulative total is a product of a) choosing the wrong questions for research; b) unnecessary or poorly designed studies; c) failure to publish relevant research promptly, or at all; d) biased or unusable reports of research. The implications for return on financial investments, appropriate care and interventions, and knowledge utilization are far too large to ignore. Action on this evidence is imperative to reduce human, intellectual, and economic consequences of the waste.
50% or less is the average adherence of providers to quality clinical practice. 50% or more are the resources wasted in the health sector globally. We need to close this gap between actual and achievable performance in quality health care delivery. 50% reduction in maternal and newborn facility mortality rates is what the World Health Quality of Care Network intends to achieve.