Lessons from less developed nations health systems

This relates to an area of health I have been following for a number of years. And a perception that rightly or wrongly that most western health care systems are in various states of crisis. In a western styled health system including New Zealands obtaining treatment often involves a GP referral to one or more specialists. With these specialists often referring to other specialists. Eventually the patient is prescribed a course of treatment. With the specialist referrals there are usually some quite significant delays involved. Sometimes the specialists are declining the referrals if their services are oversubscribed and the health condition is not considered serious enough. There are many stories of the utter despair of people caught up in these 'referral loops'. Then I read a story of someone with the same health condition in what we might consider a developing nation or among what we might think of as a perhaps  third world country. This person received some advice - from a friend, went into a business which seemed to be a cross between a pharmacy of some sort, possibly some sort of manufacturer of medicines, but a shop. They purchased what they needed over the counter. With apparently no questions asked. They received the same course of treatement as they would in a western country but without all the specialists involved and described getting good outcomes from it. The simplicity and ease with which they were able to access health care seemed to be in stark contrast to others seeking the same in more modern western countries. For them the system worked like a retail business, selling what a customer wants and is asking for. It lacked the many layers of checks and controls of our health system, and no specialists were involved in oversiting the provision of the medications needed. On this same topic I have read of other what is perceived as third world country health systems going on to develop leading edge approaches to treatment. Advancing much more rapidly than western health care systems. I relfected perhaps because life is cheaper in those countries, they are less risk adverse, and trying out newer procedures and approaches which our own would need years of testing and approval before hand. Some of these countries have gone on to develop health care as an export industry, developing medical tourism where people are travelling to these countries for procedures they either can't access back home, or can't access at an affordable cost back home, or simply because the thrid world health system through treating patients more like customers and simply providing what is being asked for, they are carrying out a higher amount of procedures and through that becomming more experienced, more expert, more advanced. I don't know if while western healthcare systems of various types are in a state of crisis and collapse, third world or developing countries health systems are in a state of development and advancement and seeming to generate profits rather than losses for their nations.

Why the contribution is important

Learning from health systems that have needed to develop lean might help us reflect on where our own systems are perhaps more combersome and unweildly than they need to be. Accepting that these other health systems might be operating with more risk but through that achieving more reward through greater advancement. And they are working with greater acceptance that if someone asks for a treatement, simply provide it, charge them and thank them for their business. Some of this occuring at the pharmacy level thereby avoiding burdening a health system and specialists altogether. 

by Apples on April 11, 2023 at 09:31AM

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