Health

Health in empty Spain plays the league of inequality | Society

Living in empty Spain should not imply having fewer health-related rights than living in a large city or in an average population. However, you only have to visit large rural areas of our country to realize that this is not the case. The possibility of accessing the services of a professional, doctor, pharmacist or nursing staff, is much less. the white book The challenge of reducing health inequalities in Spain, Presented by the biopharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) and the Seres Foundation, it addresses the causes of this situation and provides concrete and innovative solutions to improve the rights of citizens living in depopulated areas.

The report has been prepared through the Moonshot Thinking methodology, which is based on two principles: the collaboration of experts from different fields and the search for disruptive innovations. More than 150 professionals from medicine, academia, the third sector and the private sector have participated in the document, including members of the Autonomous University of Madrid, the Comillas Pontifical University, the University of Navarra, the Rey Juan Carlos University and the University of Salamanca.

The general director of BMS in Spain and Portugal, Roberto Úrbez, pointed out in the presentation of the white paper the question that gave rise to the report: “If the population has universal access to health care, why do inequalities persist?” Different studies indicate that these are very relevant. According to Intermon-Oxfam, Spain ranks fourth among 28 European countries in terms of health inequalities. Among the factors that cause them there are three determinants, in the words of Roberto Úrbez: “Educational level, gender and, especially, territoriality and depopulation.”

At BMS we dedicate part of our efforts to reducing health inequalities and, in the case of Spain, depopulation is one of the main causes of this problem

Roberto Úrbez, general director of BMS in Spain and Portugal

Sergio Molino, author of the book The empty Spainpointed out in the presentation that in the regions described in his work “there is a perceived lack of services that especially affects specialized medical care, concentrated in cities that are often far from the most depopulated areas.”

After analyzing the causes of inequality in access to health, the objective pursued by the experts who participated in the document was to propose lines of action that would improve the socio-health situation in the short, medium and long term and bridge this gap that is growing in depending on where you live.

The town beyond a weekend

The white paper proposes, among other measures, to encourage the arrival of professionals and qualified personnel in rural areas, to develop new technologies such as telemedicine and the use of artificial intelligence, to incorporate mobile units that adapt to the needs of the populations or improve health education and health knowledge in schools. It is also committed to the permanent and comprehensive training of health professionals; In addition to providing them with knowledge about technology, the document perceives the need for training in humanistic aspects, such as empathy and inclusion.

From left to right, Sergio del Molino, Roberto Úrbez, Menchu ​​Lavid, Juana López Pagán, Ana Rubio, Ana Ruiz, Lucila Garcia, David Valcárcel, Ivan Bofarull and Antonio Calles at the book presentation event in Madrid.
From left to right, Sergio del Molino, Roberto Úrbez, Menchu ​​Lavid, Juana López Pagán, Ana Rubio, Ana Ruiz, Lucila Garcia, David Valcárcel, Ivan Bofarull and Antonio Calles at the book presentation event in Madrid.

According to experts, guaranteeing universal access to health care and promoting health education pose multiple challenges and require the contribution of very different professionals. In this sense, Fernando Ruiz, president of the Seres Foundation, pointed out that “the social problems we face require the intervention of all social actors”. Hence, in the preparation of the white paper, a work methodology as innovative as Moonshot Thinking was adopted. Its main value is that “it seeks disruptive solutions to complex problems, it is strongly linked to our way of working and our commitment to transforming the lives of patients,” said Roberto Úrbez in reference to BMS.

Caregivers with technological and emotional training

The challenge of reducing health inequalities in Spain brings a desirable future closer to the present by proposing projects that have a real and measurable impact. It proposes to generate a bridge for health in the most depopulated areas with three key points. In the first place, it proposes creating a new caretaker role in rural areas that identifies with the referents of each locality. These people would have basic medical and technological knowledge, as well as training in providing emotional support. Secondly, it suggests the creation of professional nodes, a network of primary care and hospital doctors, which would support caregivers. The third point of the proposal points out the need for a digital connection that connects the caregiver with the medical node.

To make the proposal effective, the white paper proposes the development of a network of alliances between the public and private sectors that work to promote health equality. It is, according to Roberto Úrbez, an objective also for the company he presides over: “At BMS we dedicate part of our efforts to reducing inequalities in health and, in the case of Spain, depopulation is one of the main causes of this problem”.

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