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Posts Tagged ‘socio health’

The idea comes from a podcast by The Economist, “The New Old”, in which Andrew Scott from the London Business School discusses the importance of acting rather than reacting.

The point is that there are millions of ideas developed for old people. Few have moved from the drawing board into everyday life. This lack of adoption of new ideas seems to stem from the fact that it is too late for old people to adapt to new inventions and/or methods. And also, it is too late once morbidity has already developed.

As the title clearly expresses, what we should aim for is helping people to develop healthy habits that will make ageing a lot more bearable and enjoyable.

Prevention has traditionally been the black sheep of the socio-health sector. There is a lot of talk about it and very little action. Dare to type “self-help” in Google or in Amazon, and the number of entries is in the range of the thousands. But still, there is no action from the public socio-health system.

It is usually the case in organizations that they tend to put out fires, while forgetting the most vital step:  preventing the fire. Acknowledging that fact, it is no consolation to see that the socio-health sector acts in the same manner: attending those already sick and forgetting about preventing sickness.

So the trend continues, and what the formal public sector does not provide, falls into the hands of the private sector: filling the gap started years ago with the self-help books, and which today has moved from books to apps and ICT tools of all kinds.

Of course, I am not against the private sector coming to the rescue; on the contrary. What I would very much like is for the public socio-health sector to integrate into their system those apps and other prevention tools that would, in the long run, ameliorate pressure on the socio-health system. In short: to integrate the concept of helping people to age better.

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In one respect, underdeveloped countries are well ahead of developed ones. This is in the use of the simplest of ICT devices for enhancing people’s access to healthcare: the traditional mobile phone.

ICT developers are forcing developed societies into using the latest technology; maybe those with bigger benefits by any chance?. This could be the reason why telephone developers are trying to introduce, and very successfully, I have to say, sophisticated devices that, by the way, can even be used to call your friends and relatives! But, it is a fact that traditional mobile phones are cheap to produce and easy to use.

And there are plenty of examples, from India to Kenya, of very basic applications that are used to save lives. Yes, of course there are thousands of applications for – guess what? – the IPhone, smartphones running Android, or the Blackberry. But there are very few applications for the kind of device that a person in his or her 70’s will feel comfortable using.

And, isn’t the ageing of our societies the big problem that drains almost all of our Governments energies and resources? Isn’t the cost of taking care of those growing numbers of citizens the cause of the disintegration of the socio-health system as we know it? Why then not imitate India, Kenya and others and use simple cheap solutions for simple problems instead of the most expensive alternatives?

I certainly wouldn’t like to think that it is because industry as opposed to civil society, is the one calling the shots.  Or maybe it is?

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