Less Talk, More Action: New Report Sponsored by ViiV Healthcare Provides Roadmap to Achieve Health Equity by 2040
Report from Economist Impact offers key actions to overcome the barriers that have blocked progress in achieving health equity across HIV, STIs, mental health, and COVID-19
Healthcare disparities are defined as avoidable and unfair differences in the health of people or particular groups that negatively impact their quality of life and life expectancy. Research has shown that clear disparities exist in relation to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), mental health, and COVID-19, and are often connected by broader overlapping social factors. The report, which focuses on these three disease areas, explores the opportunities that eliminating health disparities over the next two decades could create and what actions are needed to achieve it in
“The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed and intensified existing health disparities, while also serving as a wake-up call to leaders, health systems, and other stakeholders to the threat that disparities pose to individuals, communities, and society,” said
This report revealed several key findings that provide the motivation and the pathway for action on health disparities1:
- Disparities in care are avoidable, unfair, and cost us all: Disparities create unfair economic and social circumstances for individuals, communities, and societies alike. They create fragility and add instability to health and social systems.
- Addressing health disparities must be an urgent moral, social, and economic priority that is reliant on a shared vision: Without action, any meaningful progress on societal health and economic goals is at risk and will remain vulnerable to global health threats like COVID-19. A shared, forward-looking vision that shows us what achieving health equity looks like is critical to success.
- Stakeholders and systems can either perpetuate or combat disparities: Inaction can be as powerful as action. This research lays out a clear route for various stakeholders to contribute to the pursuit of health equity, and systems for accountability and measuring progress.
Systems are slow to promote equity because they are often incentivised not to: Incentives for health and social care are often set up to perpetuate disparities in the US and
UK. A greater focus on performance and targets centred on equity, stakeholders and systems would be more likely to both reduce disparities, achieve efficiency, and positive health outcomes.
- Restructuring the health system to prioritise prevention for both physical and mental health: Healthcare systems are often rewarded for sticking to the status quo – a focus on treating the sick, rather than preventing illness, which contributes to worse outcomes. Payment models should prioritise prevention, equity, and sustainability in car and health systems should develop better reimbursement programs to make preventative care a priority.
- Reimagining investment beyond the upfront cost: Health systems end up spending more in dealing with the consequences of disparities than eliminating them in the first place. Investments in health systems and individual communities should be examined over longer periods of time while developing better measurements of success to understand the social, health, and monetary value of eliminating disparities.
- Making practical changes that improve collaboration: Individuals can make a difference, but their impact alone is limited without the ability to share information with others. Practical changes that improve collaboration, like improved data sharing practices, more efficient referral processes, and better communication between initiatives and health providers could help prioritise and realign goals around improving equity.
- Improving our knowledge of how to best reach certain populations: Many health systems continue to use largely unchanged, outdated methods to engage stakeholders or rely on community partners to pick up the slack. Incorporating new best practices from outside the health sector in planning and organisational structure could expand the current knowledge of how to best reach key populations.
The full detailed findings of Achieving health equity: a roadmap to eliminating disparities, as well as additional resources related to the report can be found at viivhealthcare.com.
About Economist Impact
Economist Impact combines the rigour of a think-tank with the creativity of a media brand to engage a globally influential audience. We believe that evidence-based insights can open debate, broaden perspectives and catalyse progress. The services offered by Economist Impact previously existed within
We are building on a 75-year track record of analysis across 205 countries and territories. Along with framework design, benchmarking, economic and social impact analysis, forecasting and scenario modelling, we bring creative storytelling, events expertise, design-thinking solutions and market-leading media products, making Economist Impact uniquely positioned to deliver measurable outcomes.
For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline, and commitment, please visit www.viivhealthcare.com.
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1 Economist Impact. Achieving health equity: a roadmap to eliminating disparities. Available at: https://impact.economist.com/perspectives/Achievinghealthequity. Last accessed:
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