Archive | October, 2011

Is it yet the time to revisit the way we put health-related targets? MDGs and HIFA as examples

31 Oct
I believe one mistake when dealing with targets related to health is to make them fixed targets, while health itself is not. This is usually affected by the way we used to express almost anything related to health management in cycles.
The problem with cycles is that they make you return to the same point from which you started. This minimizes the true opportunities for improvement.


I believe we need to deal with health targets in SPIRALs not cycles. In spirals we will never stop looking forward and should never return to the point of commencement. This may seem too philosophical, so let\’s put it in relation to three examples: HFA-2000, MDGs-2015 and even our dear HIFA-2015


Both refelcts the cyclic kind of thinking, where things start from a point (Alma Ata for HFA 2000), or Global Summit in 2000, which approved the MDGs, and will end in a fixed point in a fixed time. This is narrowing of the wide and forcing the parallels to meet.
We need to look at health as a moving target, because it is. What is \”basic primary health care\” in Alma Ata is not by any means what people think of \”basic healthcare needs\” today. Now, even lay people know about ultrasound, MRI and CT scans. They know more about the choices they have regarding their health. The setback is that we (health politicians/policy makers) are fixed to fixed targets, while our clients are steps ahead of us.
We may be shocked to know that the MDGs are being expired by 2015, or shortly after.
What we should have done is that we re-orient the MDGs to be more flexible and more towards the growing ever developing needs of the people we claim to serve. 



Health information is not an exception. HIFA is mainly about making \”By 2015, every person worldwide will have access to an informed healthcare provider.\” — Which information? For which healthcare provider? AND then what\’s after 2015? It is the cyclic thinking again (a problem defined, a solution suggested and planned for to be done to solve the problem in a given time). It looks perfect. I\’m afraid it\’s not.


Health is one of the fastest growing fields (I claim to be the third after telecommunications and weapons industry), and this means the definitions, the targets, the needs and the expectations are all changing, or more precisely moving forward. 


Why should be stagnant by sticking ourselves to fixed targets that will not be valid by the date they are due?