State of COVID–19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned into a global health crisis, evolving at unprecedented speed and scale. The priority of governments and organisations everywhere is to take decisive action to protect their people.
The reality is that modern healthcare systems are already under substantial pressure due to demographic changes and long-term affordability constraints. Countries are at different level of capabilities and readiness to deal with a pandemic.
Nonetheless, public policy makers and health administrators face a common challenge now: to articulate and execute a health response that mitigates public harm from an entirely new virus.
Unprecedented, continued pressure on public health
Early success in containing the outbreak and delaying community-to-community spread is evident in some Asian countries, thanks to a vigilant, quick and coordinated crisis response, drawing on lessons learned from previous virus outbreaks. A novel virus didn’t mean a novel experience.
But the COVID-19 health crisis in Asia Pacific is by no means over. A second wave of cases is already flooding some Asian countries, and “lockdowns” are increasingly embraced as a radical new measure across the region. A “lockdown” seeks to slow the spread of the virus by breaking the chain of transmission, but such an extreme measure comes with high economic and social impacts that cannot be sustained indefinitely.
To avoid a resurgence of the virus when lockdowns are lifted, additional public health measures need to be defined and put in place now.
This COVID-19 public health crisis needs a rapid, strategic response
The public policy makers and health administrators are confronted with a challenge that requires a response outside of the existing modes of operating. Thus, the imperative is to learn and adapt rapidly in the current environment.
It seems likely that the course of this pandemic will involve repeated cycles of outbreaks and containment until a vaccine is available. While there are global efforts to accelerate development of a COVID-19 vaccine, an effective therapy may not be available for another 12-18 months. Therefore, what is needed right now is a strategic response to this health crisis that considers both near-term and long-term needs.
Accenture has identified three characteristics of a strategic crisis response. This report outlines what healthcare decision makers need to do now and what they need to do next, as part of such a strategic response.