The COVID-19 pandemic showed how important health is to individuals, society and the economy

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Better health promotes economic growth by expanding the workforce and increasing productivity, while providing a number of other social benefits. However, the model of health systems, still focused on the structure of hospital care, removed from this debate the need for actions focused on health promotion and disease prevention.

Current debates have focused almost entirely on health costs. However, right now, where the world faces the enormous challenge of reinventing health promotion practices, we have a unique opportunity to restore the past and promote better health for the population. Information related to social epidemiology is crucial for the balance of the health management system in decision making and use of resources.

Public health policies are focused on problems that the health system cannot solve and little effort ends up being dedicated to the control of social determinants that influence the health-disease process.

Obesity-related conditions and mental health challenges are weighing on people, regardless of age, including those of working age. Reducing the burden of chronic diseases through health promotion interventions is the only alternative to improve the health of individuals and the population.

Disease prevention, in addition to being less costly than treating illnesses, contributes to a greater financial return. Reducing the global burden of disease brings significant benefits to health and the economy, since primary health care strategies have an infinitely lower cost-effectiveness than in secondary and tertiary care.

However, transferring expenditures to prevention is not a simple task, as it requires substantial changes in the community and how health care is provided. Changes in the community context will help individuals to grow, work and age in a healthy way. The culture of the population is a determining factor for the success of health policies aimed at preventing diseases and promoting health. The medium and long term results of activities aimed at primary care should convince society as to the results to be experienced long before they become real.

At the present moment, economic survival has motivated the rupture of strategies of sanitary barriers by the population. The lack of understanding of the impacts of social determinants on the health-disease process has culminated in the overflow of health care, especially at the tertiary level.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique moment to involve governments, businesses and communities in a joint effort. The awareness of the popular force to minimize the most relevant impacts in the social context is essential, as well as the involvement of high impact structures in the transmission of knowledge such as educational units, among other public facilities that can subsidize greater force for decision-making in favor of the very collective.

 

As we get out of this crisis, we will be able to aspire and build a better, stronger and more resilient health system, providing better health for all and prosperity for the next generations. 

 

Dr. Bruno Cavalcanti Farras

Mara Machado

Ariadine Oliveira