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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 282-283
Ensuring health system resilience following a public health emergency: World Health Organization


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication5-May-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Ensuring health system resilience following a public health emergency: World Health Organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:282-3

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Ensuring health system resilience following a public health emergency: World Health Organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Sep 22];10:282-3. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/1/282/205573
Dear Sir,

Globally, weaknesses in the health system and lack of preparedness have been observed time and again in response to any public health emergency, irrespective of the type of nation (developed or developing) being affected.[1],[2] In fact, the initial response of the affected nations to the 2014 outbreak of Ebola was extremely poor, as the functioning of the health care system was seriously hampered, and hence we lost the lives of thousands of patients, including health workers to a known enemy.[1] Similar sorts of scenarios have been observed among the nations affected by civil wars / migrants overload, and the problem is increasing further and further.[3]

There is no doubt that the majority of the challenges faced during public health emergencies precipitate due to the lack of preparedness, nevertheless factors like lack of resources, fragmented involvement of various stakeholders, and lack of coordination among the different supporting agencies has also played a crucial role in the augmentation of the problem.[2],[3],[4] It is very important to realize that most of the epidemics of infectious diseases threaten both the social organization and the health system, causes instability, interferes with the delivery of routine health services, and closure of the health care facilities (due to deployment of the personnel in emergency-related work or resource/infrastructure constraints).[1],[2],[3] In addition, extremes of panic have been observed among the affected population group, ranging from loss of faith in the health system to even an increased demand for health services.[1],[4]

From the public health perspective, the ultimate aim is to ensure that essential services (viz. maternity, pediatrics, emergency, etc.) remain operational and a proper division of work is maintained to prevent excessive workload on the health professionals.[2],[3],[5] Acknowledging the necessity that the overall impact on the health system should be kept minimal, there is an extensive need to improve the resilience of the healthcare system.[4],[5] This can be achieved by ensuring an effective coordination between health facilities to formulate, execute, and monitor action protocols; identifying a single nodal agency which will issue precise instructions and not only systematically monitor the desired information, but even share with other stakeholders whenever it is needed; maintaining logistics (like personal protective equipments, disinfectants, medicines, communication tools, food supply for health team, etc.) within the health system and the community through the help of nongovernmental organizations; ensuring appropriate management of information, so that the risk of wrong decisions or other mistakes can be avoided; and by developing a communication strategy and sharing the message through a credible spokesperson to win trust of the people without giving any scope to destabilize the response.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6]

In fact, the World Health Organization has developed a recovery toolkit to support nations in their target to reactivate essential health services which have taken a toll in response to a public health emergency, and to assist in the execution of the national health plans.[4] It also enables considering all the available technical resources, avoids duplication of work, and plays a crucial role in bridging the gap prevalent in the area of available evidence, tools, and resources.[4]

To conclude, it is the need of the hour to support nations to accomplish resilience of health services during a public health emergency, and most of the challenges can be easily addressed by ensuring coordination among the involved stakeholders.

Acknowledgement

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
   References Top

1.
Lapão LV, Silva A, Pereira N, Vasconcelos P, Conceição C. Ebola impact on African health systems entails a quest for more international and local resilience: The case of African Portuguese speaking countries. Pan Afr Med J 2015;22:15.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Campbell J, Cometto G, Rasanathan K, Kelley E, Syed S, Zurn P. et al.,Improving the resilience and workforce of health systems for women's, children's, and adolescents' health. BMJ 2015;351:h4148.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Ager AK, Lembani M, Mohammed A, Mohammed Ashir G, Abdulwahab A, de Pinho H. Health service resilience in Yobe state, Nigeria in the context of the Boko Haram insurgency: A systems dynamics analysis using group model building. Confl Health 2015;9:30.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health OrganizationRecovery toolkit: Supporting countries to achieve health service resilience. Geneva: WHO press; 2016.p. 1-13.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Vesel L, Waller K, Dowden J, Fotso JC. Psychosocial support and resilience building among health workers in Sierra Leone: interrelations between coping skills, stress levels, and interpersonal relationships. BMC Health Serv Res 2015;15:S3.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
McCabe OL, Semon NL, Thompson CB, Lating JM, Everly GS. Perry CJ, Building a national model of public mental health preparedness and community resilience: validation of a dual-intervention, systems-based approach. Disaster Med Public Health Prep 2014;8:511-26.  Back to cited text no. 6
    

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Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.205573

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