Forty-nine per cent of healthcare workers in a WISH-commissioned survey agree that health systems lack preparation for managing another health emergency

Current pressures due to poor funding, staff shortages and inadequate preparation means that health systems around the world are still not fit to cope with another pandemic, an international survey to assess the effects of COVID-19 on health care workers revealed.

Forty-nine per cent of healthcare professionals surveyed in countries including the UK, US, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India, and Brazil agreed that lack of preparation is one of the biggest threats facing their national health systems if another pandemic were to tread on the heels of COVID-19 in the next five years.

The survey was commissioned by the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), the global health initiative of Qatar Foundation. It was conducted by YouGov.

COVID-19 impact on lives of healthcare workers

The research delved into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of healthcare workers and attempted to understand their feelings about their workplace and profession while trying to explore what they foresee as the future of healthcare.

Looking at factors that leave global health systems vulnerable to failure in the event of a new pandemic, 60% of healthcare professionals recognised the lack of financial support, while 55% highlighted talent shortages as other major risk factors for health systems efficiency.

Additionally, 44% stated an inability to properly support patients also poses a significant threat to their national health systems.

According to WISH CEO Sultana Afdhal, the survey findings highlight some of the critical challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced upon us over the last two years.

As an advocate of a healthier world through global collaboration, Afdhal urges governments, industry leaders, and policymakers to take these insights and work towards building next-generation health systems that are better equipped to meet similar challenges in the future, to improve the standard of care and, crucially, to ease the burden felt by the healthcare workforce.

She explained that the current pandemic has strained health systems to create urgent response measures such as increasing capacity, enhancing infection control, moving to remote models of care, and enabling mass vaccination, among others.

There is a need to take stock of the challenges and for enablers to respond at a national level, as well as create opportunities for accelerating the sharing of strategies internationally.

WISH is a global platform which gathers healthcare experts, policymakers and innovators to unite with the goal of building a healthier world. The biennial WISH Summit aims to showcase WISH’s evidence-based research and discuss how to translate these findings into practical, policy-driven solutions that help transform global healthcare delivery.

The sixth edition of the summit is set to take place from 4 to 6 October in Qatar and virtually, under the banner Healing the Future. The summit will thoroughly explore the legacy of COVID-19 from various perspectives, including how to build more resilient and sustainable healthcare systems, improve response to the mental health crisis faced by healthcare workers and harness the rapid progress in pharmaceutical innovation that has taken place during the pandemic.

For more information on WISH, visit

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