Accessible healthcare in developing countries

Philips believes that regardless of GDP, population density or existing infrastructure, improving access to healthcare requires meaningful innovation. It also requires an understanding of the complex relationship between all stakeholders and their specific needs to truly make a difference and help people to improve access to healthcare.

Working in partnership with governments, global health leaders, private organisations and NGOs, Philips is committed to serving populations around the world to improve patient outcomes, provide better value and expand access to care.
Philips is supporting the UN initiative Every Woman Every Child by committing to improving the lives of 100 million women and children by 2025. The goals of this UN initiative are well-aligned with Philips' vision to make the world healthier and more sustainable through innovation and our ultimate goal of improving the lives of three billion people a year by 2025.

Combining innovative healthcare solutions in tandem with local partnerships is the best way to improve people's lives".

 

Philips Connected Healthcare position paper, 2014

Combining innovative healthcare solutions in tandem with local partnerships is the best way to improve people's lives and ensure that innovation is impactful in areas that require a healthcare revolution. In addition, accessible and integrated health systems that focus on prevention as well as treatment can save lives, create resilient communities and be a cornerstone for an ambitious development agenda.
Healthcare in emerging economies faces three major challenges when attempting to create and maintain a sustainable health system. The first is the high cost of developing a healthcare system.

40%

of all deaths in the World Health Organization African region in 2010 were due to non-communicable diseases. About half of these deaths occurred in persons under the age of 70.

 

Citation: Philips Fabric of Africa report, 2013

The second is providing basic health services while reducing chronic and non-communicable diseases, which are often driven by unhealthy lifestyles. Finally, poverty, violence and poor basic health create a strong demand for healthcare, but weak infrastructure and delivery systems often limit supply.
Impactful innovations such as simple-to-use, hand-held telehealth devices can be part of the solution. Such sophisticated technology can address the issue of accessing healthcare, especially across large distances in rural communities. It can also address care provider shortages which are common in many developing economies. For example, a programme was put in place by Imaging the World, in collaboration with Philips, to provide access to basic antenatal ultrasound in rural Uganda. Under this programme, midwives were trained in the ultrasound protocol and the resulting increase in antenatal care visits actually allowed opportunities for maternal education regarding safe birthing and home care practices.
A similar collaboration took place in Kenya, where Philips partnered with South Africa-based not-for-profit organisation, PET (Powerfree Education Technology), to further develop, test and provide a Wind-up Doppler Ultrasound Foetal Heart Rate Monitor, a unique power-independent clinical innovation aimed at addressing the high rates of preventable infant mortality across Africa.
More recently, Philips developed the Community Life Center (CLC), a community hub where technology is bundled with services: solar power, indoor and outdoor LED lighting, healthcare equipment, laboratory equipment, refrigeration, IT solutions and water supply and purification. The first CLC in Kenya now delivers two babies per day. Healthcare workers at the site were empowered through clinical coaching and education.
In many countries, the lack of trained and skilled healthcare professionals to operate and maintain equipment is a challenge, so Philips has developed strategic partnerships in professional and technical healthcare education. For instance, Philips recently partnered with NGO RAD-AID in India to offer a screening programme for the early detection of breast cancer, cervical cancer and osteoporosis via a special mobile outreach van with imaging technology and clinical referral services. This partnership addresses the complex healthcare needs of Indian women who are otherwise far removed from healthcare facilities. Philips is also committed to global relationships that provide impactful, meaningful solutions, including a three-year initiative with the World Economic Forum's Leapfrogging in Emerging Economies project, which ensures healthcare systems in emerging economies are financially sustainable and delivering high-quality, cost-effective and accessible care.
To make a positive difference in healthcare access requires an understanding of the interconnectedness of people, technology, places, co-morbidities, institutions, services, situations and costs — and the cause and effect relationships between them all. Access to healthcare is a complicated problem that requires a multi-lateral approach among those who have the means, stature, mission and personal drive to effect a change. Philips and its partners are in a position to bring local and regional understanding, personal experience and passion to bear on this issue and to foster caring innovation, improving patient outcomes, providing better value and expanding access to care in the developing world.

Half of the world’s population live in rural areas. What percentage of physicians work in rural areas?

25%. In addition, less than 38% of nurses work in rural areas. Citation: World Health Organization

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