Health

The 20th Century was one of great success for health provision. New technologies and discoveries rapidly accelerated the ability of health professionals to prevent and treat disease and to care for populations to levels previously unimaginable. Establishing healthier populations helped provide economic prosperity. As the World Health Report explains, “Promoting and protecting health is essential to human welfare and sustained economic and social development.”

All World Health Organisation members agreed in 2005 to ensure that all people can use health services, whilst being protected against financial hardship associated with paying for them. Establishing effective and efficient financial systems for health provision is a problem heightened by the global financial problems. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO, has made clear that “The need for guidance in this area has become all the more pressing at a time characterized by both economic downturn and rising health-care costs, as populations age, chronic diseases increase, and new and more expensive treatments become available.”

Challenges for health provision continue; preventable diseases are still a major issue across much of the world and the education of populations in basic health safety measures is progressing. The fight against HIV and AIDS is ongoing and difficult, with major ramifications for entire regions.

Health professionals also face new and evolving challenges. These take the form of healthcare issues, such as ageing populations, personalised healthcare requirements and evolving diseases, and management issues, including new regulations, establishing efficient best practices, and ever increasing public expectations in a time of increased financial constraints.

The International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS) carries out a substantial amount of work to support administrations across the world in their efforts to bring about change and reform, providing a range of different services:

• Research - research makes a significant contribution to learning on health matters, highlighting best practice, current trends and leading thinking. The Centre has a repository of materials, including research papers, films and documentaries, and works in collaboration with a number of academics, universities and research organisations across the world.

• High level networks – ICPS has developed a network for senior officials that have a professional interest in the field of health, and provides opportunities throughout the year for them to gather and share ideas and best practice.

• Consultancy ICPS provides consultancy services to public administrations and agencies around the world on areas including: child health, alcohol and drug misuse, new regulations, health education, disease prevention, personalised healthcare

• Training ICPS provides training and advice to governments and public administrations, through working in collaboration and delivering bespoke training programmes which are tailored to their precise requirements. The Centre also provides internationally recognised professional qualifications in the area of governance, policy, regulation, and corruption, and these are accredited by the Chartered Management Institute.