Prevention for preparedness in hygiene and health
Submitted by Essity
Michele Cecchini is responsible for the OECD work on Public Health. He drives the work on promoting better public health policies for better lives, which includes identifying best practices across countries and making the economic case for scaling up prevention policies within health systems.
“We are increasingly moving from looking at economic cost to a broader concept of well-being; this includes calculating the return on investment of making the change to a more prevention-based health system”, he says.
Michele Cecchini describes the Covid-19 pandemic as a potential turning point when it comes to infection prevention and control.
“Many lessons were learned, including discovering how badly prepared we were for a global pandemic, and how big the gap between what we thought we could do and what we actually could do was”.
He goes on to describe how quickly those lessons are likely to be forgotten unless governments keep up investments in preventive measures, including to ensure that good hand hygiene practices are not discarded.
“Health literacy is very important. People can live healthy lifestyles but if they don’t have access to very basic things such as soap, water, and clean facilities, then there is no way that the situation will improve”.
This is particularly pressing for low- and middle-income countries. Improving access to basic hygiene infrastructure and materials should be a top-priority for such countries going forward. Especially given the interconnected nature of our world, and that diseases do not respect borders, this is an area in which high-income countries should continue providing assistance.
The OECD is supporting the G7 and the G20 as well as the European Union in their work to advance and implement better prevention policies. In concrete terms, this means providing countries with the evidence to implement effective and cost-effective One Health policies to tackle emerging public health threats such as antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Regarding the cost and return on investment of implementing proactive health systems for AMR, it has been calculated that across OECD countries in Europe, North America, and Australia, the cost of a comprehensive package to tackle AMR would amount to about $2 per person annually, a small figure given the scale of healthcare budgets. According to Michele Cecchini, a significant amount of the resources needed to fight AMR are already existing within the healthcare system, but these resources are used to patch holes rather than address the root causes.
“When it comes to certain public health issues, money is sometimes spent trying to dry the water on the floor rather than to turn off the tap”.
Michele Cecchini points out that, in certain cases, governments could see a return on investment within a year, if things are done properly and healthcare resources are directed to solving the issue as opposed to just treating its symptoms. There is a clear argument for redirecting resources to a prevention approach.
The OECD is well positioned to access public health and care data and to examine the related policies that would serve governments, economies, and societies. Prevention in society is a key tool policymakers have at their disposal to keep societies healthy, increase the well-being of citizens and thereby decrease healthcare costs.
Essity is a leading global hygiene and health company that develops, produces and sells Personal Care (Baby Care, Feminine Care, Incontinence Products and Medical Solutions), Consumer Tissue and Professional Hygiene products and solutions.
Our vision is; Dedicated to improving well-being through leading hygiene and health solutions. The name Essity stems from the words essentials and necessities. Sales are conducted in approximately 150 countries under many strong brands, including the leading global brands TENA and Tork, and other brands, such as Leukoplast, Libero, Libresse, Lotus, Nosotras, Saba, Tempo, Vinda and Zewa. Essity has about 48,000 employees and net sales in 2017 amounted to approximately 12.8 bn USD (SEK 109bn, EUR 11.3bn). The business operations are based on a sustainable business model with focus on value creation for people and nature.
The company has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. Essity used to be part of the SCA Group.
Tork is a brand of Essity. Essity is a leading global hygiene and health company that develops personal care, professional hygiene and consumer tissue products and solutions. Essity offers Tork paper towels, toilet paper, skin care products, facial tissue, wipers, wet wipes, napkins and other hygiene products for washrooms, wash stations, healthcare areas, food and beverage handling, food preparation, manufacturing and maintenance. For more information, visit http://www.torkusa.com/
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