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Strengthening Health Systems Requires ‘Strengthening Everyday Resilience’

Devex: Opinion: To fight the next Ebola, the G20 need to empower people to respond to everyday challenges
Lucy Gilson, professor at the University of Cape Town and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

“…Any attempt to strengthen health systems must take seriously well-recognized stressors such as increasing workloads, changing health needs, resource challenges, and less-often identified but routine challenges. … [W]hat do global leaders need to do to nurture everyday resilience in the face of chronic stress — and so also strengthen health systems? First, they need to understand that the ‘personal’ is absolutely integral to a functioning and responsive health system. … Second, and most critically, global leaders must pay attention to how they engage with health systems. … Strengthening everyday resilience demands that we all — governments, donors, researchers, communities, health professionals — work with the resources that health systems already have — their people and relationships. This must be done as we take wider action to confront inequality at all levels. If we do not do that, then efforts to safeguard disease outbreaks will be meaningless” (7/6).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.