THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: GLOBAL HEALTH POLICY AND TECHNOLOGY RESPONSES IN THE MAKING
“When trouble is sensed well in advance it can easily be remedied; if you wait for it to show itself any medicine will be too late because the disease will have become incurable. As the doctors say of a wasting disease, to start with it is easy to cure but difficult to diagnose;after a time, unless it has been diagnosed and treated at the outset, it becomes easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. So it is in politics.” - Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
The world has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic at the same time, however these responses have not necessarily been the same. This Special Issue, published in the Elsevier journal Health Policy and Technology, focuses on the initial health policy and technology interventions used to respond to the first wave of the pandemic. The issue contains 5 papers covering general issues related to the pandemic and 17 country-specific papers that explore policy and technology responses across 28 different countries. This issue was made possible through the many contributions of VheP members and their peers, comprising 85 different authors and four guest editors, representing more than 40 different organisations.
VheP founder Francesco Paolucci, Doowon Lee (both from the University of Newcastle) Jonathan Tritter (Aston University), and Naomi Moy (the University of Bologna) were the guest editors who worked tirelessly to make this impressive achievement possible! Their editorial piece for the Special Issue, "The COVID-19 pandemic: Global health policy and technology responses in the making" highlights the importance and timeliness of this issue and is highly recommended reading before diving in to the articles.
ABOUT THE JOURNAL
Health Policy and Technology (HPT) is the official journal of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine (FPM), a cross-disciplinary journal, which focuses on past, present and future health policy and the role of technology in clinical and non-clinical national and international health environments. The aim of HPT is to publish relevant, timely and accessible articles and commentaries to support policy-makers, health professionals, health technology providers, patient groups and academia interested in health policy and technology.
INSIDE THE ISSUE:
Andrea Galeotti, Jakub Steiner and Paolo Surico assess the economic value of a test, allowing them to provide a method for decision-makers to select the best available COVID-19 test for their objectives.
Sebastian Rosenberg, John Mendoza, Hossein Tabatabaei-Jafari, The Pandemic-Mental Health International Network and Luis Salvador-Carulla describe the international mental health situation and outline an urgent need for mental health reform driven by lessons learned in the pandemic.
Luis Salvador-Carulla, Sebastian Rosenberg, John Mendoza, Hossein Tabatabaei-Jafari and The Pandemic-Mental Health International Network analyze global pandemic responses and conclude that rapid response prioritization should incorporate systems thinking and healthcare ecosystem approaches.
Naomi Moy, Marcello Antonini, Mattias Kyhlstedt and Francesco Paolucci developed a framework which assigns a gradient indicating the severity of impact of a given policy measure implemented in response to COVID-19.
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN ITALY: POLICY AND TECHNOLOGY IMPACT ON HEALTH AND NON-HEALTH OUTCOMES
Chiara Berardi, Marcello Antonini, Mesfin Genie, Giovanni Cotugno, Alessandro Lanteri, Adrian Melia and Francesco Paolucci find that the strictness and timing of containment and prevention measures played a prominent role in tackling the pandemic.
EUROPE'S COVID-19 OUTLIERS: GERMAN, AUSTRIAN AND SWISS POLICY RESPONSES DURING THE EARLY STAGES OF THE 2020 PANDEMIC
Zachary Desson, Lisa Lambertz, Jan Willem Peters, Michelle Falkenbach and Lukas Kauer compare the experiences of the three countries and examine policies that may provide global lessons in mitigating some of the negative impacts of the pandemic.
COVID-19: THE NEED FOR AN AUSTRALIAN ECONOMIC PANDEMIC RESPONSE PLAN
Shannen Higginson, Katarina Milovanovic, James Gillespie, Laura Wall, Naomi Moy, Madeleine Hinwood, Andrew Matthews, Christopher Williams, Adrian Melia and Francesco Paolucci explore the rationale for an economic response plan to guide the Australian government towards robust solutions for future pandemics.
Hanna Tiirinki, Liina-Kaisa Tynkkynen, Markus Sovala, Salla Atkins, Meri Koivusalo, Pauli Rautiainen, Vesa Jormanainen and Ilmo Keskimäki find that the pandemic has likely accelerated the development of digital health services in Finnish healthcare.
Josefa Henriquez, Eduardo Gonzalo Almorox, Francesco Paolucci and Manuel Garcia-Goñi find that the main measure to contain the spread of the pandemic was a stringent confinement policy which also resulted in a substantial reduction in mobility and economic activity.
Marìa Alejandra Benìtez, Carolina Velasco, Ana Rita Sequeira, Josefa Henriquez, Flavio M. Menezes and Francesco Paolucci report on Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, finding that the underlying characteristics of these countries have undermined the effectiveness of their responses to the pandemic.
Ayman Fouda, Nader Mahmoudi, Naomi Moy and Francesco Paolucci find that these four countries managed the pandemic at an early stage and could absorb the health system shock and decrease the case fatality ratio.
Brendan Kennelly, Mike O'Callaghan, Diarmuid Coughlan, John Cullinan, Edel Doherty, Liam Glynn, Eoin Moloney and Michelle Queally credit the use of technology and a commitment to transparency for the country's relative success in protecting public health.
Andrius Kavaliunas, Pauline Ocaya, Jim Mumper, Isis Lindfeldt, and Mattias Kyhlstedt report on how the Swedish experience highlights how much can be achieved with voluntary measures; something that was noticed and proposed as a future model by the World Health Organization.
Savannah Bergquist, Thomas Otten and Nick Sarich find that the US policy response is best characterized by its federalist, decentralized nature, concluding that the “re-opening” of economic activities appears to be largely driven by social tensions and economic motivations rather than an ability to effectively test and monitor the population.
Gøril Ursin, Ingunn Skjesol and Jonathan Tritter discuss how the agendas of limiting disease spread, mitigating economic effects and engaging with social consequences combined to motivate the Norwegian policy response.
Ridwan Lanre Ibrahim, Kazeem Bello. Ajide, and Omokanmi Olatunde Julius find that the periods where restrictions were eased were also correlated with the highest increases in COVID-19 cases and a cyclical overwhelming of the healthcare system.
STUDY WITH US
The Value in Health Economics and Policy (VheP) group played a large role in making this special issue possible. In collaboration with the University of Newcastle, Australia, many members of VheP have been instrumental in the design of a new suite of courses in health economics, management and policy.
If you or someone you know might be interested in learning more about the issues raised by the Special Issue papers, please consider our programs:
These programs have been developed in response to the increasingly difficult global challenges arising within the healthcare sector, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. By developing your leadership and management skills and your understanding of the economics and governance of health policies, you will be equipped to respond to these challenges in innovative ways. These programs will foster new skills for those already employed within the sector, as well as adding value to future employees yet to enter the sector.
In keeping with the times, these programs are also available through Remote Online Learning Pathways