Sania Nishtar

 {Photo credit: Paula Champagne/MSH}Jeffrey Sachs speaking at "A Healthy Future for All: Making UHC a Post-2015 Priority".Photo credit: Paula Champagne/MSH

After last Monday’s event launching a report on equity in universal health coverage (UHC), I observed that the global UHC movement can gain broader support by refining its messages to connect with the core values of civil society and provide reassurance that UHC is feasible for low-income countries. It was clear after last Tuesday’s event in New York—hosted by MSH, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Thai UN mission—that to gain support among disease-specific advocates in post-2015 discussions, the UHC movement must also clarify how a UHC goal would relate to disease-specific priorities in the new development framework.

Put another way: what exactly would UHC cover as a post-2015 goal?

Screenshot of Heartfile website

When in 1995 entrepreneur Jeff Bezos launched Amazon.com from his garage in Seattle (USA), fewer than 1 in 200 people worldwide had internet access and online shopping was just a year old. Today, Bezos’ innovative website has made Amazon.com the world’s largest online retailer, with $60 billion in annual sales – $170 million a day. Online shoppers see Amazon.com as their primary interface—this is the technology innovation. Amazon.com and its accompanying vast information technology capabilities can predict what we want. It catalogues our searches and purchases, and gives us suggestions of what we want.

A brilliant example of the power of technology innovation – right? Only half right. What we don’t see is actually more profound: it’s the power of partnering technology innovation and systems innovation. If you thought Amazon’s secret sauce was simply the technology innovation, think again. In fact, it’s the systems innovation that makes Amazon work. 

[Systems model: Amazon.com] {Graphic by MSH}Systems model: Amazon.comGraphic by MSH

 {Photo provided by Ayyaz Kiani of DEV-NET.}(Left to right): Dr. Khalid Saeed, President of the Pakistan Pharmacists Association; Dr. Sania Nishtar, Founder and President of Heartfile; Dr. Ejaz Qadeer, NTP Manager; Dr. Azhar Hussain, Director of Pharmacy, Hamdad University, Islamabad; and Dr. Gul Majeed Khan, Chairman of the Department of Pharmacy, University Quaide Azam, Islamabad.Photo provided by Ayyaz Kiani of DEV-NET.

A version of this post originally appeared on the SIAPS program blog.

"Health care is not about what doctors and nurses do in hospitals," said Dr. Sania Nishtar. "There are a range of different stakeholders that need to play their parts."

" href="https://twitter.com/SaniaNishtar">Dr. Nishtar, keynote speaker at the "Engaging Pharmacists in TB Care and Control in Pakistan" stakeholders' meeting last week in Islamabad, Pakistan, highlighted the importance of involving all care providers in tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and treatment. The meeting of key stakeholders included representatives from the Ministry of Health, universities, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, among others.

Richard Horton moderates a panel on post-2015 development goals. {Photo credit: HSR-Symposium.org}Photo credit: HSR-Symposium.org

Last month, I joined over 1,800 participants from more than 100 countries in Beijing at the Second Global Symposium on Health Systems Research. We've made some concrete steps forward since we last met in Montreux, Switzerland, two years ago, among them the launch of a new research society Health Systems Global. Central topics of this year's discussions included: “Inclusion and Innovation towards Universal Health Coverage” (UHC), the symposium theme, and monitoring and evaluation.

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