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“Some developing nations are effectively locked in a race against time, which they must be supported in winning.”

Leading Humanitarian Aid Expert Speaks Out on World Population Day

THE “staggering” growth in global population is placing a huge strain on many countries’ health systems, a leading British humanitarian aid expert has warned.

Shameet Thakkar, founder of Unimed Procurement Services, warned the impact risked having disastrous consequences and some developing nations are locked in a race against time, which they must be supported in winning.

He said: “More should be done to safeguard individuals in vulnerable parts of the world. Their health systems are simply not equipped to cope with the burden of such a rapidly growing population.”

His comments come as we mark World Population Day, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness of issues surrounding the growing population, whose total reached 8 billion last year.

 

Vulnerable Groups Most at Risk

In his role as the founder and managing director of Unimed, Mr Thakkar’s organisation contributes to international development by increasing access to healthcare commodities.

Explaining the challenges those working in this sector face he said: “The world’s population is increasing at a staggering rate, and this has placed a significant burden on healthcare, with vulnerable groups of individuals being most at risk.

“Population ageing is certainly a cause for concern due to older individuals requiring care more often– and there is already a widespread awareness of this issue. However, maternal and newborn health is a relatively new focus area. In developing countries, newborns often don’t survive due to malnutrition and complications that could easily be prevented with access to the right healthcare facilities and resources.

“What some may perceive as small issues during pregnancy or childbirth, such as iron deficiencies or an abnormal heart rate, can mean the difference between life and death, or a healthy baby being born, if not properly addressed. But many pregnant women simply don’t have that option.

“The challenges we face are harder than ever, even when compared to just five or ten years ago. Even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for care was outstripping capacity. And health systems in developing countries are yet to recover.

 

Building Stronger Health Systems

Mr Thakkar added: “It all goes back to the need to build stronger health systems. If we are to create a resilient future where everyone has access to the same level of healthcare regardless of where they live, then increasing our efforts to this end should be a priority. Resilience in healthcare is multifaceted. It means having the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, handling crisis response, but also providing quality routine care.

“The WHO maintains that in order to create stronger health systems, governments should invest in essential public health functions, address pre-existing inequities and promote environments for innovation and learning.

“But this is no easy feat. The burden of a growing population will naturally make it more difficult for governments in developing countries to make investments and resolve structural challenges. Some developing nations are effectively locked in a race against time, which they must be supported in winning.

“Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits all answer. Shaping a brighter future in healthcare is a long, complex process that may require reliance on external resources, too, with countries who are better positioned doing their part to help wherever possible.”

 

About Shameet Thakkar

Shameet S. Thakkar is the founder and managing director of Unimed Procurement Services, an organisation dedicated to increasing access to healthcare products globally, partnering with the government, international development and aid agencies to provide essential health products to populations worldwide.

With over 10 years of experience, Shameet is a quality conscious leader with a deep understanding of quality assurance and an expert in harnessing procurement activity to engage supply markets in innovative ways, reduce costs and maximise commercial benefits.

Shameet has extensive experience of managing funds globally and a strong understanding of the development sector and development economics. He also specialises in delivering the full lifecycle of complex infrastructure programmes along with strategic procurement of quality healthcare products.