We believe that systems thinking and complexity science can be transformational in global health by increasing local capacity and shared learning, and minimizing unintended consequences.
The Mozambican lady in the corner is one story among an ocean of peoples suffering from a breakdown in current heath systems. A systems thinking approach to health as predicated by understanding the complexities of a health system as a whole seeks to bridge the gaps in said inadequate and inefficient health systems. In the case of Thailand, global health leaders sought to provide universal coverage by way of interventions that met the health needs of the people as a whole.
Through free prenatal care, skilled birth attendants, family planning, and immunizations, Thailand was able to transcend the Millennium Development Goals while maintaining its total expenditure at a fraction of the cost the world was spending. In essence, Thailand was able to achieve good health at low cost by applying systems thinking concepts. Such conceptions included
1. A shared vision amid global health leaders and the affected Thailand community
2. Collaboration and establishment of interrelationships between said groups
3. Identifying leverage points in order to create positive long lasting effects and strengthen local capacity
4. Utilizing feedback as a means of adapting to emerging challenges and modifying interventions.
Overall this led to a greater understanding of how an effective health systems approach could be applied and more specifically it led to universal coverage, increased life expectancy, and decreased infant mortality for the peoples of Thailand just in the time span of 30 years. Thailand doesn’t have to be the exception, by changing our approach to health and incorporating more systems thinking we can revolutionize healthcare around the world.
We’ve made this brief video outlining Thailand’s use of systems thinking to improve Thailand’s health care system. Please watch, share and enjoy this video.