De nieuwe grenzen van de gezondheidszorg

BEIJING – De ontwikkelingslanden staan voor een schijnbaar onoverkomelijke opgave bij het bieden van adequate gezondheidszorg aan hun snelgroeiende – of, in sommige gevallen, snel vergrijzende - bevolkingen, vooral omdat de gezondheidszorgsystemen te kampen hebben met overbelasting, en infectieziekten en andere ziekten zich snel verspreiden. Omdat de toegang tot de juiste zorg in deze regio's een probleem is met vele facetten, kan dit het best door verscheidene partijen tegelijk worden aangepakt.

Er zijn duurzame samenwerkingsverbanden nodig tussen farmaceutische bedrijven, overheden, non-profit organisaties en gemeenschapsleiders om achtergestelde bevolkingsgroepen te helpen hun gezondheidsproblemen te overwinnen. Samen moeten deze partijen voor een tweeledige aanpak kiezen, door zich zowel te richten op 'hardware'-factoren (die constant blijven, zoals de fysieke afstand tot behandelingscentra en lange aanbodketens) en 'software'-factoren (de immateriële zaken die per regio enorm verschillen, zoals de rol van het gezin en culturele normen en waarden).

Deze principes doen vooral opgeld op plekken als de Chinese plattelandsprovincie Xinjiang, waar de levensverwachting slechts 67 jaar bedraagt, tegen 73,5 jaar voor heel China, en een gebrekkige toegang tot de gezondheidszorg het welzijn ondermijnt. Xinjiang is bijna 1700 vierkante kilometer groot, maar herbergt slechts 21 miljoen mensen, waarvan er velen tot nomadische stammen behoren. Vanuit economisch gezichtspunt is de weerstand van Xinjiang essentieel voor de Chinese strategie van economische groei – de provincie wordt gezien als de Chinese 'poort naar het Westen'.

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