Session Date: April 21, 2021
Session Description: Health systems in low resource settings are severely strained by the COVID-19 pandemic. These systems are already fraught by a high incidence of non-communicable and infectious diseases, an inability to adequately provide high-quality primary and speciality care services, and the escalating costs in providing health services. A pandemic compounds existing structural inequalities, further limiting access to services in underserved communities. Failing to prepare for and address strains on the health systems will create long-term secondary impacts that makes it harder for the system to recover and perform optimally. Sustaining and advancing health outcomes therefore requires a strategic approach, and is dependent on the current capacity and commitment of the health system to respond to novel threats while maintaining essential functions and services. Investments in health systems must leverage and improve existing capacities across public and private institutions and community structures, while exploring and embracing opportunities to advance efforts through innovations and digital health. This interactive session will explore how to build health systems resilience capacities focusing on areas of health system strengthening that may be threatened by a pandemic — yet remain critical to the overall performance of the system — so countries can recover and become stronger than before.