We can make health care better for every patient, every time care is needed. We know how—we have the knowledge and the tools to make it happen. And we can do it largely with the resources available in any given country.
This novel yet simple idea was the outcome of an intensive, five-day meeting last month of 58 health leaders from 33 countries. They gathered at the Salzburg Global Seminar, “Making Health Care Better in Low and Middle Income Economies: What are the next steps and how do we get there?” to chart a learning and action agenda to improve the performance of health systems in even the most resource-constrained settings.
The Salzburg Call to Action
They issued their conclusions in a joint statement signed by all 58 participants: Better Care for All, Every Time: A Call to Action.
What is different about this call? I remember well the call for “Health for All by the Year 2000” which went sorely unheeded. And of course, there are the current Millennium Development Goals, which call for substantial reductions in maternal and child mortality by 2015—a target that many nations are not on track to meet.
For one thing, the Salzburg Call to Action focuses on the how—what strategies and policies can get us there. The big idea put forth in Salzburg is that powerful methods are available and can be applied in even weak and severely under-funded settings to make care better now. They are known by many names, but can be termed simply: quality improvement methods.