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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: