Effect of the Pandemic on the Healthcare Industry : The rise in the positivity ratio and the subsequent deaths due to Covid-19 marked the declaration of a virus spreading across borders as a “pandemic.” According to the Oxford dictionary, a pandemic refers to a disease that is “prevalent over a whole country or the world.”
A state of medical emergency being announced worldwide called for proactive measures on the part of the states as well as private medical organizations such as hospitals and clinics. Almost after a year and a half since the world became recognized as undergoing a global epidemic, the consequences of the pandemic can be seen to influence various different sectors of the world economies.
Although businesses suffered, unemployment and inflation rose, governments throughout the world started taking precautionary measures by spending on the healthcare sector. While the global pandemic has had both a negative and a positive impact on the healthcare industry, it is imperative to consider both effects.
Positive Effects Of The Pandemic On The Healthcare Industry:
Rise In Demand For Medical Practitioners, Thus Creating More Job Opportunities
Since the medical demands of people contracting Covid began to rise, more doctors and nurses were required in hospitals to tend to non-Covid as well as Covid patients. Therefore, as the demand for medical practitioners, pharmacists, bio-technicians grew, job opportunities in the respective medical fields grew. Furthermore, the demand for medical researchers also grew. This was because more people were required in the bio-tech industry to work on new vaccines to counter the spread of this virus. Since more jobs were open for people, this had a multiplier impact on the education sector. Similar to work being done from homes, the education sector too provided study-from-home opportunities. A specialized online MHA no GRE degree was being provided to cater to the need of the hour medical job requirements. Therefore, this was seen to positively impact the healthcare industry as more people were driven to work in the healthcare sector.
Increase In Government Spending And International Organizations To Support The Healthcare Industries
Due to the declaration of a pandemic, developed countries actively invested resources into their economies, mainly in the healthcare industry. While international organizations for healthcare, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), actively advocated countering the spread of the pandemic by supporting developing and developed countries around the globe. Additionally, third-world countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Malaysia received medical aid from other countries such as China and America and WHO as vaccines were primarily provided either free of cost or on nominal interest rate policies. Pakistan, for instance, received 500,000 vaccines of Sinopharm, Sinovac from China and AstraZeneca for free from WHO which were donated by India. India known as pharmacy of the world and biggest producer of vaccines in the world developed and produced millions of doses of vaccines, which they along with inoculating their own population free of cost, also donated millions of vaccines to poor countries and were biggest contributor of free vaccines to WHO led cooperation all over the world.
The funding along with government spending to facilitate hospitals with their supply chains provided a financial boost to the healthcare industry. Therefore, the healthcare industry, despite being at the forefront of this pandemic, was able to facilitate both Covid positive and non-Covid patients in a state of emergency. Despite the few positive effects of the pandemic on the healthcare industry, by and large, the healthcare industry faced severe challenges.
Negative Effects of the Pandemic on the Healthcare Industry:
Shortage And The Subsequent Hoarding Of Healthcare Inventory
Due to the increasing usage of healthcare equipment and products such as sanitizers, PPE kits, surgical masks, oxygen cylinders, and other technical components of medical machinery, an imminent disruption in the medical supply chains are visible. This has been primarily attributed to the interruption in supply chains since most of the medical supply vendors were faced with increasing numbers of Covid-19 patients. Thus the export of medical equipment was halted. For example, China being one of the largest producers of medical equipment, initially hoarded medical supplies instead of selling them to other countries and once the countries were in dire need, sold the supplies after inflating their costs. This caused a severe impact on the countries which imported medical equipment from the producers, thus impacting their healthcare systems. Furthermore, financial constraints on the healthcare industry were a prominent drawback of the shortage and hoarding.
Serious Impact On The Wellbeing Of The Healthcare Workforce
Even though the healthcare industry provided promising work opportunities for the workforce, by and large, the existing healthcare workforce was faced with serious implications on its physical and mental wellbeing. Physically, the healthcare workforce, commonly known as the frontline workers during the pandemic, were the ones who were at the highest risk of contracting Covid-19. And rightly so, a very high number of Covid patients turned out to be the healthcare workforce, thus impacting their physical wellbeing. In addition, due to long working hours, emergency situations in hospitals, and a responsibility to adequately fulfill the promises made before opting for this profession added a mental burden onto the healthcare workforce. This, again, led to the compromised mental health of the healthcare workforce. Therefore, the healthcare industry did suffer in terms of the quality of the healthcare workforce due to constraints on their wellbeing.
Poor Quality Of Service
The pandemic has had a direct impact on the healthcare industry. Due to state and world declared emergencies, the healthcare industry was faced with increasing pressures to cater to all the infected patients. However, with limited resources, restricted capacity, compromised mental and physical wellbeing of the healthcare workforce, the ultimate quality of the service being provided by most of the healthcare industries was below average. The pandemic, indeed, highlighted the weaknesses of the healthcare industry, which was not ready or prepared to combat a pandemic.
Undoubtedly, the Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the world. However, the most apparent impact was seen on the healthcare industry. While the pandemic did render positive and negative consequences on the healthcare industry, in light of the arguments mentioned above, it can be concluded that the pandemic caused more harm to the healthcare industry. Although the pressures on the healthcare industry were prominent in the early months of 2020, the pandemic left a significant mark on the world. While it did question the weaknesses of the healthcare industry, it laid down the foundations for countries to invest in and sustain their healthcare industries to combat pandemics in the future.
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