Pandemic resilience and health systems preparedness: lessons from COVID-19 for the twenty-first century

J Soc Econ Dev. 2021;23(Suppl 2):290-300. doi: 10.1007/s40847-020-00133-x. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Abstract

The pandemic of COVID-19 disease has acted like a stress test on every aspect of life, but particularly exposed weaknesses of health systems design and capacity. There have been similar pandemics in the past, and the threat of more frequent future pandemics in the twenty-first century is real. It is therefore important to learn the right lessons with regard to health systems preparedness and resilience. The five design features that this paper discusses are related to the organization of primary care services, planned surge capacity in secondary and tertiary care, a robust disease surveillance system that is integrated with the health management information system, adequate domestic capacity in being able to innovate and scale up production and logistics of much needed medical products and a governance approach that recognizes the importance of the health systems being able to continuously learn and adapt to meet changing needs. In addition to this, the organizational capacity of the system to deliver required services would need more investment in financial resources, and a suitable health human resource policy.

Keywords: COVID-19; Health systems resilience; India.