Report of Regional meeting on Strengthening health systems to address co-morbidities in the South-East Asia Region
AbstractThe South-East Asia Region of WHO is experiencing a demographic and epidemiological transition due to improved health causing high life expectancy and a reduction in incidence of communicable diseases as well as improved reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. As a result of this scenario, noncommunicable disease, mental health problems and injuries have become leading causes of morbidity. Noncommunicable diseases are caused by multiple risk factors, and very often a patient is suffering from more than one illness at the same time, which requires multiple treatments consuming more health resources. Health systems requires new approaches of addressing multiple morbidities at healthcare facilities with higher efficiency of managing these patients.Many countries in the South-East Asia Region treat co-morbidities (i.e. more than two or more co-existing illnesses in the same patient) in isolation without adopting a holistic approach. This specialized treatment approach has led to inefficiency and wastage of resources. A systems approach has been adopted at lower-level health facilities, supplying them with screening and diagnostic machines, adequate supply of drugs, and improving the capacities of human resources as well as strengthening health information systems for the efficient management of co-morbidities. Addressing co-morbidities will help in managing not only the increasing burden of noncommunicable diseases but also communicable diseases as well as maternal and child health issues efficiently and effectively.To address these issues, a regional meeting was organized by WHO-SEARO. The meeting aimed (i) to share country experiences in managing co-morbidities and explore multicountry initiatives; (ii) to raise awareness among higher-level health officials to address co-morbidities in an efficient and cost-effective manner by strengthening health systems, especially at lower levels of care; and (iii) to obtain guidance for Member States as well as WHO to address co-morbidities in the future, and address further needs for strengthening health systems.
World Health Organization. Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2015). Report of Regional meeting on Strengthening health systems to address co-morbidities in the South-East Asia Region. World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/181590