Opinion

The time for global universal emergency care development has come

Improving emergency care systems around the world is vital to ensure efforts to reduce injury and disease succeed

Improving emergency care systems around the world is vital to ensure efforts to reduce injury and disease succeed


Picture: Alamy

This year the World Health Organization (WHO) set out its strategic plan to address three ambitious targets for the next five years.

That one billion more people should access universal health coverage, be better protected from health emergencies, and enjoy better health and well-being.

These plans will be ratified next month at the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting in Geneva. The WHA is the governing body of the WHO and focuses on specific health issues before determining global health policy.

The fact that billions of people do not have access to essential health care is a major threat to global health security, and this includes access to emergency care.

The WHA Resolution 60.22 Health Systems: Emergency Care Systems, created important healthcare policy to improve global emergency care.

Burden of disease

Strengthened emergency care systems are imperative in reducing the burden of disease and injury in all populations, and especially in low- and middle-income countries which experience minimal access to adequate emergency care, often in extreme circumstances.

It is encouraging that a growing number of organisations and individuals have committed to the emergency care cause, including the African Federation of Emergency Medicine and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Emergency Medical Teams.

The time is ripe for large-scale emergency care infrastructure development and a strong political movement is influencing the quest for universal health coverage.

But workforce challenges faced by health practitioners in many developing nations continue to add to the complexity of the situation.

Despite the availability of emergency care training programmes and more accessible teaching materials, populations are still unable to access those practitioners who possess the knowledge and skills to best help them.

A concerted global effort is needed to convert policy and humanitarian advocacy into well-resourced accessible emergency facilities and systems to reduce population morbidity and mortality in those regions most badly affected.

 

 

 

Tricia Scott is consultant editor of Emergency Nurse

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