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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UNC: Researchers Propose Action Plan To Improve Quality Health Services For Nations Facing ‘Extreme Adversity’

In order to help the World Health Organization (WHO) meet its goal of better protecting one billion people from health emergencies by 2023, a team of researchers from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health has proposed an evidence-based framework to improve the quality of health services in areas facing extreme adversity.

Sheila Leatherman, professor of health policy and management at the Gillings School, is lead author of the paper “Commentary: Quality Health Care in Extreme Adversity—an Action Framework,” which was published in collaboration with WHO in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care.

According to the paper, two billion people worldwide live in countries where development is negatively impacted by fragile governments, conflict and vulnerability, and nearly 50 percent of the global poor will live in such situations by the year 2030. In addition, 131.7 million people worldwide are in need of humanitarian aid. Leatherman’s team uses the term “extreme adversity” to describe diverse settings of instability around the globe such as humanitarian crises, refugees and displaced populations, as well as conflict and post-conflict zones.

The team’s proposed framework addresses five goals: (1) to ensure access to care and adequate infrastructure, (2) to shape environmental factors influencing quality, such as funding and workforce, (3) to reduce avoidable harm to patients, (4) to improve front-line clinical care, and (5) to engage and empower patients, families and communities. The framework also identifies more than 30 evidence-based interventions to actualize these goals.

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