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Thinking outside the health box at World of Health Care

Value-based health care was the new buzzword during the World of Health Care seminar in The Hague on the 28th September. ‘World’ between ironic quotation marks, anyway for me.

It seems we live in two health worlds with different speeds at this moment. The have’s and have-nots. All technical innovations have a strong focus on the upper market and the market of the have-nots is not so booming financially and bears high risks and liabilities.

As Cordaid we live that every day, be it in South Sudan with looting of health centers last week, Afghanistan with Taliban wanting to shut operations down or the Central African Republic where our staff was shot and taken hostage recently.

Power to the people

Anyway, I was happy to hear that all of us in Health want more transparency, more uniformity, alignment and less focus on volume. So, ultimately more focus on the patients. Power to the people and more focus on value.

It seems to be a trend. Last week, Secretary-General of the UN António Guterres stated a daring ambition for his huge and complex organization. Decentralization of decision making, less bureaucracy more transparency and less focus on the processes but more so on the results and value for the people. Music to my ears. It sounds great but how to make this work?

High-risk challenge

Working in fragility is a high-risk challenge. We try to mitigate these risks with many rules and regulations and a lot of processes. The popularity of liability clauses is booming. Layers seem to be profiting above the target group from the liability rat race. For sure it might be sometimes needed but all organizations in this fragile and volatile world need to find a balance, that right now, certainly isn’t there.

Also, disbalanced according to Gilbert from the Kenya delegation, in a very inspiring intervention, is the focus of us – the health community – on health in and around urban settings. In Kenya, the majority is still living outside the urban settings and they are underserved. If you can bring health in the outskirts of the country, you can bring it everywhere.

Thinking outside the health box

If we manage health in the red zones outside Nairobi, we can manage it everywhere, states Gilbert. The biggest problem identified by Gilbert is not money, technics or availability of staff but it’s leadership. Daring to take risks, knowing where we come from and daring to think outside the traditional health box. I could not agree more Gilbert!

We had the honor of having Queen Maxima with us during the World of Health. Her brother in law, Prince Constantijn, said earlier that week that we in the Netherlands have another challenge to face. We are good innovators but not so good at scaling new solutions. Our capacity to bring investors, NGOs, knowledge institutes in consortia together and scale up our Dutch health models, needs a lot more work.

I, again, could not agree more. Constantijn, Gilbert and I, we know what we need to do. Turn all these insights into solutions and bring the two worlds together.

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