Global healthcare evolution over the past 30 years

Posted by Health Entrepreneur 05/05/2015

Globally, the healthcare sector has been undergoing drastic change in the last 30 years and most countries have been focussing on healthcare costs with worldwide financial crisis and climate of austerity bringing in drastic change. Socio economic, structural and clinical changes have ushered in a period of unrest and disruption with most countries grappling with the changes.With these changes the existing business models and healthcare processes will not suffice. In this article we look into the changes that have affected the healthcare segment in the last 30 years, the impact on costs and what are the many ways in which the segment and the entrepreneurs have thrived during this period. ​

To read more about “Global healthcare challenges - an eye on South Africa”, click here!

Declarations for global health – What was the Alma Ata?


In the last 30 years we have seen a greater global response to the health problems. In the year 1978 there were 134 health ministers who signed the Alma Ata Declaration which had set a deadline for the achievement of global health at a certain level by 2000, which would ensure that people around the globe would lead a communally and economically productive life.

Strategy to achieve this goal:

Primary healthcare with community participation while tackling the root cause of disease such as poor sanitation, illiteracy and poverty.

Globalization is now seen as an additional hazard to achieving this health status which was contained in the declaration.


The estimated 800 million are still lacking access to the most basic of healthcare services. However, there are a few who see globalization as a boon that can enable easier accomplishment of the “health for all” status.


The year 1998 saw the emergence of a new global health policy “Health for all in the 21st Century” which brought in additional elements not seen in the original Alma Ata. In this new version the importance of seeing health as a precursor to sustainable human development and the importance of seeing it from a gender perspective were both emphasised.

Health for all in this policy meant the following:

  • Health security for all

  • Increasing life expectancy

  • Achievement of global health equity

  • Access for all to essential healthcare of quality


The first international health conference held in Ottawa in November 1986, had a charter which supported the health for all initiative which was to be implemented by the year 2000. This conference was in response to a growing expectation for a new public health movement around the world. While the focus of this conference was on healthcare needs in industrialized countries, this took into account concerns in all other regions as well.


These charters made a set of recommendations based on an analysis of world health problems and existing policies and programmes. These charters made recommendations to government organizations, international and non-governmental organizations and the business sector. The assertion made by this agreement and charter was that “Health and human rights should prevail over economic and political concerns”. The charter also called for “world-wide and all-inclusive, comprehensive primary healthcare regardless of people’s capacity to pay”.

The Task force for Global Health – 30 year history


This task force was guided by the edicts of social justice, stewardship and compassion for the 30 year period.


Beginning with the early efforts to increase childhood immunization rates, the task force engaged partners from diverse backgrounds including Ministers of Health, foundations, Industry partners and pharmaceuticals, and international health organizations.


Their motive - to provide millions of people in the developing countries access to good health. These values continue to work till date.

Achievement – More and more people had access to vaccines for influenza, polio, cholera etc. as a result of their work for Center for Vaccine Equity (CVE)


Worked with the support provided by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CVE worked with partners from diverse fields such as WHO and Rotary International etc. to ensure the success of the “last mile” of polio eradication.


The center for Vaccine Equity (CVE) helped many countries by introducing poliovirus vaccine and made all coordinated efforts to develop antiviral drug therapies to help in the treatment of people who are immunecompromised, in reducing threats to themselves and in the eradication effort.

This year also saw efforts by CVE to increase access to seasonal influenza vaccine for high risk people in four developing countries.

Pharma companies were seen to participate in good measure in this effort by donating nearly 980,000 doses of vaccine for this effort.

The final effort was made by Rotary and CVE as partners in the prevention and control of cholera.


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