- Countries often deal with scarce resources, where should the money be spent?
Money should be spent on use of traditional containment measures (syndromic surveillance, contact tracing and isolation), continuation of vaccination, disease control (HIV, Malaria, TB, Diabetes, Hypertension etc), and reproductive health programs through use of community health workers and telemedicine.
What are countries doing to sustain other health services? Do they have a strategy to avoid unintended consequences like decreased vaccinations, avoiding treatment for chronic illnesses, etc.?
Community health workers have been of great use in rural India to sustain non-Covid services. Telemedicine services have been legalised. Online services (consults, drugs and diagnostics at home) saw significant growth in urban areas.
- Is it possible to quantify any decrease in essential service use by analyzing claims data?
Hospital services saw a dramatic reduction in claims as per National Health Authority (NHA) that manages a country-wide public health protection scheme during country-wide lockdown. Other essential services like vaccinations, communicable disease control programs, and antenatal care are provided directly by public healthcare.
- What is the role of emergency medical services in tracing, testing, and training in communities?
Emergency Medical Services may not have direct role in tracing, testing, and training. They should be reserved to attend to serious cases only.
- How can we involve and interest non-medical professionals in the fight against COVID-19? It often seems that the response only concerns medical professionals and government/political officials, but there are non-medical positions, like community engagement roles, that could be well suited to non-medical professionals.
Community engagement was prominent and effective in rural India. Residential societies played an important role in enforcing social distancing in their localities.
- How can a poor country that is affected by conflict effectively respond to COVID-19?
Poor countries should have their own strategies to prioritise limited resources. They should not ape developed world in wasting their limited resources.
- How can multi-sectoral partnerships and digital tools improve access to health care services?
Covid response has to be multi sectoral as the pandemic involves lives and livelihoods. Digital tools are being effectively used wherever possible in contact tracing, mobile tracking, tele-consulting, rapid health workforce training, intense public awareness creation.
- Since COVID-19 spreads easily, are there any countries that have effectively limited transmission within health facilities to non-COVID patients? How did they do it?
By designating certain facilities with requisite infrastructure as Covid-only hospitals, while others continue to serve non-Covid health needs. This has been the most effective strategy to reduce cross-infection in hospitals.
- What strategies did Ghana, Mexico, and the Philippines use for confining and deconfining?
- Health insurance is an effective way to attain UHC. During this pandemic, how can process flows that integrate COVID-19 management be included as countries are encouraged to leverage health insurance?
Health insurance (public, private, and employee) has to have a coherent response in announcing Covid-specific packages, make suitable package enhancements to cover additional costs involved in PPE use and isolation, disseminate information widely to beneficiaries, and make advances to empanelled hospitals to manage their cash-flows.
- What role do health insurers have in helping to promote healthy behaviours among their insured populations?
Health insurers have access to their beneficiaries and shall use social messaging tools to reinforce health life styles and personal protection methods
- How can countries ensure that primary health care does not get neglected due to the urgency of pandemic response?
National-level or state-level human resource pooling and efficient distribution as per priorities will ensure adequate utilisation of workforce in primary healthcare.