Even though his name is still tightly linked to the Microsoft universe, Bill Gates has been active on the global health front for almost 20 years. Founded in 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has supported healthcare throughout the world, with at its core, the desire to control and eradicate infectious diseases in the world. Polio, as Bill Gates mentions in his yearly review, is closed to disappear from the planet. Regardless of your perception of his previous company, Microsoft, there’s no denying that Gates is a positive force when it comes to promoting healthcare worldwide. And while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation can make it sound simple and accessible – after all, wouldn’t we be able to change the world too if we were multi-billionaires? –, it’s important to remind ourselves that Bill Gates is one of many wealthy philanthropists in the world. Yet, impoverished countries continue to struggle with disease outbreaks. What is stopping effective healthcare in those areas?
We can transport medication safely
Trying to tackle an outbreak in a rural and poor region requires effective logistics and transportation system. Indeed, it’s not just a matter of getting the medicine from the pharmacy to the hospital room; you need to be able to prepare and pack oral medication in such a way that you can quickly scale the products up or down to respond to a crisis. We have already the technology that supports operational pharmacy packaging for any number of dose orders, meaning that dispatch teams can get ready in virtually no time. Additionally, effective packaging solutions let you transport medication by plane, car or boat.
We can rely on smart tech
Smart technology is transforming healthcare for all. The idea of making healthcare adaptable to the needs of the patients is not new, but intelligent tech is creating new possibilities that can change the lives of impoverished populations around the world. Indeed, in conflict zones, amputations are common complaints. From minefield to war weapons, the local community is at risk of permanent damages on a daily basis. But smart prosthetics can provide hope for those living without a limb to find a controllable replacement. Smart technology can not only monitor the condition of the prosthesis but also can react to external factors to adjust pressure and temperature.
We can finance it to a certain extent
Many organizations and institutions are working together to facilitate healthcare access in developing countries. The World Health Organization constantly works on reaching universal health coverage by raising funds, reducing financial barriers and allocating funds accordingly to support impoverished areas. Additionally, other charitable organizations, such as Doctors Without Borders – Medecins Sans Frontieres – provide emergency medical aid to populations affected by epidemics and conflicts or excluded from healthcare systems. Ultimately, while health comes at a cost, there are some funds and resources available to help those in need.
The main problem is education
While there are funds available, these can’t stretch out to deliver care permanently when impoverished areas are left with no possibility to improve their social and professional standards. When you can’t learn, you can’t improve your life nor escape the health risks of poverty.
Of course, there is no intention of ever stopping global healthcare. However, it’s fair to say that while technology, fundings, and resources are making the dream of universal healthcare tangible, lack of education in conflict and impoverished areas acts as a risk factor that health specialists need to consider.