Beyond COVID-19: Mega Trends in Global Health

Looking Beyond COVID-19: Mega Trends In The Global Health Arena You Should Be Watching For In A Post-COVID World

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Looking Beyond COVID-19: Mega Trends In The Global Health Arena You Should Be Watching For In A Post-COVID World

This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Trend Alignment in Your Business

As the world recovers from the detrimental impact of the COVID-19 infectious disease, it’s a fitting opportunity to consider how global megatrends impact the world.

Originating in Wuhan, China in late 2019, the COVID-19 virus and disease was classified as a pandemic on March 11, 2020 as it spread to countries around the world.

Global efforts took shape as health agencies took measures to contain the outbreak by encouraging social distancing, limiting human to human contact, and closing down economies.

With the world adopting a renewed focus on innovations to public health systems, preparedness, and response techniques, it’s a good time to consider how public health fits in as a global megatrend.

So far in our series on megatrends, we’ve considered how global population increases and migration patterns affect the environment, industries, and consumer behaviour.

In this post, we’ll consider how pandemics such as COVID-19, as well as other public health impacts, yield substantial opportunities for business communities and innovation cycles.

Pandemics in modern society

A globalised society on Earth enjoys being able to travel to and from many regions that were once inaccessible. However, the increased mobility, both personal and business-related, also exposes Earth’s population to higher chances of disease transfer.

COVID-19, if nothing else, is an example of the fragility of public health systems to respond to rapidly spreading infections.

In a 2011 report, the World Health Organization warned that the world is “ill-prepared for a severe pandemic or for any similarly global, sustained and threatening public health emergency.” Fast-forward almost a decade and the world is feeling the full effects of a global pandemic and renewing focus on improving methods containment and prevention.

Technological development

There are other global health issues than those caused by pandemics.

Many industries around the world benefit from rapid advancements in technology. Agriculture industries benefit from cutting-edge pesticides while forestry sectors operate machines that were once thought impossible.

Increases to waste and emissions can cause environmental health issues such as those that impact air and water quality.

In addition, the effects of new chemicals such as pesticides with little-studied byproducts are still largely unknown. Some of the effects of exposure, especially when different industrial byproducts are combined, may not be observable or possible to understand for generations.

Urbanisation and public health

In the last post, we looked at how global migration trends fuel urban expansion. If you missed it, check it out here [link]. As previously-remote communities move to cities in search of jobs and to increase their livelihoods, so too do cities grow. With bigger cities at the core of modern industrial expansion, bigger cities also mean more air pollution.

Estimates project that urban air pollution is set to become the main environmental cause of premature mortality by 2050.

The most vulnerable populations are the elderly and the poor, which may only further impact public health resources.

Public health in developing nations

The security of international health faces a huge threat in communicable diseases. Their impacts are felt most heavily in developing regions of the world.

For example, as the world has responded in time to HIV/AIDS, better access to therapy has shown decreases in AIDS-related deaths. However, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS, due to available treatments, is increasing. That puts a significant change to public health systems and is an important consideration for policymakers and social program designers to consider.

Additionally, there are contagious diseases that continue to spread in developing nations despite powerful vaccines have been available for over 50 years. It may shock many people who live comfortably in developed countries that contagious diseases such as measles persist in countries that are less well off. In some countries, measles is still one of the leading causes of death among young children.

Public health in developed nations

Advanced economic growth has helped to reduce poverty in developed nations. Despite positive benefits like advancements in medical technologies, unhealthy lifestyles have developed.

It’s not just communicable diseases that are damaging to public health. Medical conditions such as cancers, diabetes, obesity, and mental disorders persist in developed nations, and, increasingly in the rapidly growing middle class of the developing world.

Implications for innovation

European nations enjoy unprecedented improvements to public health systems. However, COVID-19 in 2020 demonstrates just how fragile public health systems really are. Future policies and innovations will require additional public health interventions. Higher levels of environmental control may further be required to mitigate the spread of transferable viruses and disease.

There is huge potential for innovation in new antibiotic and drug treatments that feature narrow focuses. Commonly, antibiotic drugs are designed to cover a broad spectrum of ailments but antibiotics also hamper immune systems, risking greater exposure to viral contaminations. Reducing the over-reliance of antibiotics, coupled with better investments in other drug treatments, can help improve public health around the world.

Greater effort can be given to reducing “lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases.”  These include tobacco-related ailments, obesity or cardiovascular diseases. Advancements in habit-forming services and technological aids may help reduce these lifestyle-related public health concerns. More can be done with awareness and aid to get people more active and curb the negative effects of alcohol or tobacco consumption.

As populations migrate to urban settlements, innovations targeted in those areas may have a substantial impact. Unique services and advancements are further required to assist public health scenarios for those living in rural areas.

Innovations and new technologies can help shape the way that the public can access health services. By improving access, we can improve the distribution of health and social safety nets, making the world as a whole a safer place to live.

For more on our global megatrends series, check out our other posts here [link to first post]. Or, read on to discover how trends in technology are shaping the world around you.

Series Navigation<< What An Urbanised World Means for Our Innovation Outlook In Business6 Trends in Technological Change, And What They Mean For The Future Of Your Business >>

22 thoughts on “Looking Beyond COVID-19: Mega Trends In The Global Health Arena You Should Be Watching For In A Post-COVID World”

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has become a trigger for new changes that have occurred or the adaptation of new habits related to health protocols that are carried out to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This has driven innovation to continue with new product ideas due to consumer demand.

  2. Future policies and innovation will require additional public health interventions to mitigate aganist the spread of viruses I hope the appropriate authorities understands this.

  3. It’s so easy to ask oneself, what is innovation in the face of such problems especially when a pandemic that is still largely unknown in how it actually affects people who get it. It really is touch and go at the moment, but given the right mindset in going about how to overcome this problem, any company would survive this kind of crisis.

  4. Now this is interesting. I suppose I expect that once this is over Innovation will ramp up. Think about it as species we are social animals and a thinking bunch. Now that we are free then all those creative juices we are hiding should come out. The question is when?

  5. Innovation involves everything, even areas of life that we never thought about. I guess life is dinamic and Innovation forms part of that dinamic, we adapt to it the best we can and improve the things for good .

  6. This is where you ask yourself on how to make money from my idea or rather from my group idea. You need to look at the various trends in the globe.

  7. The future is unpredictable but unfortunately, humanity itself has been in charge of destroying it, that is why it is important to create ideas that help find a solution to future environmental problems.

  8. Oyeyipo Oladele

    The COVID19 has really made people to create ideas out. The new product ideas will surely help to build a strong business. This post is an eye opener to us if we carefully follow this post.

  9. It’s definitely remains a constant that innovation in antibiotics, healthcare and the green sector are the best ways to push our planet forward with the highest ceiling. What is Innovolo’s stance on the oil and gas industry or nuclear energy? While there are many jobs in these fields they do have great potential to spread diseases and hurt the environment.

  10. The thing about pandemics is that they push us to try and get a problem solution. In the process we stumble upon many helpful innovations even beyond the pandemic itself.

  11. Other sectors of the economy should follow the Health sector and create ideas even amidst the pandemic. It’s encouraging to see many companies already doing this.

  12. Idea generation at this point in time is really challenging. It quite hard to think of something that will actually be efeective amidst this pandemic.

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