The New Disease Burden in Africa and the World: Future Healthcare Prospects

5 Ways in Which Healthcare Will Change in the 21st Century

Similar to other areas, the realm of healthcare has been changing rapidly over the past couple of decades, mainly due to the inclusion of innovative information and communication technology (ICT) into it. However, apart from the quick pace of technological development occurring presently, other factors can also be named among the issues affecting the alteration of the healthcare field. namely, the rise in the rates of globalization has also affected healthcare, leading to its gradual change. Overall, five vital changes are expected to occur in the healthcare industry in the 21st century.

Option 1

The gradual shift in the focus on patient-specific needs when addressing health concerns of the target population is believed to grow in its significance in the future. Due to the rise in the extent and pace of globalization, the role that culture-specific characteristics of patients will play in their further recovery is likely to increase (Miller et al., 2017). Specifically, the scenarios in which a healthcare expert will have to address the needs of a multicultural population or the patients of the culture with which the healthcare practitioner in question is personally unfamiliar are believed to become more frequent. For instance, in the context of the recent spike in the problem of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Sub-Saharan Africa, the necessity for a detailed analysis of the unique factors affecting public health in a certain area must be established in the nearest future (Mudie et al., 2019). Thus, the role of cultural competence, including the ability to engage in cross-cultural dialogue and promote patient literacy successfully, is bound to grow exponentially in the future. Consequently, the need to pay much closer attention to patient-specific characteristics when managing health issues is believed to rise in the nearest future.

Option 2

Apart from paying closer attention to the unique needs of patients, the healthcare industry seems to have altered the approach toward the attitudes toward healthcare providers. Namely, the latter’s needs have also been recognized to a much larger extent than they used to be in the past few decades, which leads to the conclusion that the specified trend will be carried into the future as well. The reasons for the described issue to become a premise for a major change within the target industry are quite easy to comprehend. Namely, with the drop in the levels of staffing in the present-day healthcare setting, the role of a nurse has been amplified (Ndyetukira et al., 2019). Moreover, the extent of responsibilities and roles that a nurse is expected to play in the healthcare context has also been expanded, leading to a rise in the levels of workload for the nursing staff (Christmals et al., 2019).

The problem of staffing and the lack of competent nurses has become especially poignant overt the past decade as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have become prevalent among the African population (Bvumbwe & Mtshali, 2018). Given the fact that the entire Sub-Saharan area has been affected to a tremendous extent, the importance of providing nursing services promptly and with due efficacy has risen exponentially (Ridge et al., 2018). In turn, the lack of nurses with sufficient amount of knowledge and skills has been playing an adverse role in the management of NCDs in the African population. The resulting increase in challenges faced by nurses has caused reconsideration of their role in the healthcare context. With the addition of the necessity to participate in cross-disciplinary interactions in the workplace and performing a range of other roles that require a high level of proficiency, the significance of a nurse in the healthcare environment has grown. Therefore, taking the need soft eh nursing staff into account has become an absolute necessity in improving the quality of care. Based on the trends described above, it is only reasonable to presume that the roles that nurses play in the present-day healthcare context are going to increase in significance.

Option 3

In light of the new disease burden in Africa and the world, healthcare trends to be expected in the future are also likely to be geared toward the promotion of health literacy on a global and local scale. The focus on patient education is likely to shift toward the advancement of the international understanding of health literacy (Kutcher et al., 2019). Specifically, cross-cultural strategies will have to be utilized to communicate the basics of health management and the ability to identify and prevent a health threat.

Option 4

Another significant change to be expected in the 21st-century healthcare setting is the role that technology and especially ICT plays in it. Namely, the range of tools used by nurses to manage and transfer patient data will grow significantly, causing a massive change in the healthcare context. The described change has already reached quite an ample scale in the healthcare and nursing context already, with the Electronic Health Records (EHR) system replacing the traditional way of storing and transferring patient dat. The described alteration is central to the effective management of data, including the increase in its security and the opportunities for sharing it in an interdisciplinary nursing setting (Mercer et al., 2019). Namely, the exclusive access that the nursing staff has to patients’ EHR allows reducing the threat of patient data leakage, whereas the new opportunities for transferring data within the EHR system contribute to faster information management. Given the improvements that the specified technology has entailed, it is only logical to suggest that it should be developed in the future to become ubiquitous in the U.S. healthcare framework (Faruk et al., 2020). Likewise, other innovative IT and ICT tools are expected to become an important trend in the context of nursing care.

Furthermore, cutting-edge technology is believed to have an even larger role in the direct management of patients’ needs, such as the problem of non-communicable diseases in Africa. Innovations such as 3-D prosthetics, biometric devices, and similar tools serve as the example of how technology can help in overcoming foundational challenges of healthcare (Glasgow et al., 2018). Therefore, technological innovations are believe d to assist nurses and other experts to perform complex procedures, including diagnosing health issues with higher precision rate and delivering appropriate nursing services accordingly. Overall,

Option 5

Finally, a vital trend of increase in the range of patients is what is likely to produce a tremendous effect on the future of nursing and healthcare, in general. Presently, there are significant reasons to believe that the range of patients will grow exponentially in the next ten years (de Cordova et al., 2019). The described trend can be justified by the existing population growth projections, the dispersion of the COVID-19, and the supposed rise in access to healthcare services for patients from remote, as well as financially or otherwise disadvantaged areas (Liu et al., 2020). In turn, the increase in the number of people requiring healthcare services will imply that a greater number of nurses and more efficient tools for providing adequate healthcare assistance will be needed. The specified issue will create a particularly challenging environment in Sub-Saharan Africa, where healthcare resources are scarce, and the range of competent nurses is quite restricted due to problems with healthcare education and the related opportunities (Khairat et al., 2020). Thus, the increase in the number of patients is expected to introduce an additional complication for the progress within the healthcare industry. Nonetheless, with the introduction of advanced technology and the expansion of healthcare access options for patients, the specified concern can be addressed accordingly. Specifically, organizations for assisting people in Sub-Saharan Africa and other regions affected by high poverty rates should be created to mange the specified change in the healthcare system in the future.

Current Leadership, Governance and Management Principles: Dealing with New Challenges of the Future

The choice of standards for leadership, governance, and management plays a huge role in nursing since it defines the approaches used to deliver healthcare services, the efficacy of the endeavors undertaken to reach out to vulnerable groups, and the overall compliance with set standards for care. Although the existing guidelines have been updated significantly with the rise in the importance of cultural competence and the ability to address the needs of diverse groups, further changes are expected to occur to improve the quality of care (van Zyl et al., 2017). It seems that, with the rise in the role of globalization in nursing and the focus on cultural and ethnic minorities’ needs, the principles of leadership, management, and governance are likely to change substantially, reflecting new values and ideas.

Unfortunately, the present leadership framework does not allow meeting the future challenges fully, mainly due to the restrictions associated with the scope and the scale of leadership initiatives. The described problem is particularly noticeable in the context of states that lack effective healthcare and nursing care, such as Sub-Saharan Africa (Mkhize, 2019). Thus, the transformation in the leadership domain of nursing will have to occur as a response to the need for improved nurse education and the ability to meet the requirements and needs of diverse populations. In the context of Sub-Saharan Africa, leadership is likely to shift toward promoting active education and the development of skills among nurse students so that they could provide services of the best quality and improve the current state of healthcare in the specified area. Namely, evidence-based approach to nursing is likely to be promoted in the future to establish key trends in the public health domain and determine the factors that contribute to the emergence and contraction of NCDs among Sub-Saharan residents. Moreover, it is believed that the future of nurse education will imply a greater focus on the creation of high-functioning nursing teams with effective leaders at the helm. Thus, the promotion of EBP in nursing and the introduction of innovative tools for managing patients’ health needs will become possible.

Similarly, the present-day approach toward governance in nursing could use substantial improvements due to the inherent problems in its design. Currently, the type of governance used in the nursing context offers very few options fir nurses to provide their EBP-related experience as the platform for building nursing guidelines and policies (Yiridomoh et al., 2020). Thus, changes in the type of governance used in the nursing context of the future will have to undergo noticeable changes. Namely, it is expected that nurses will be given more opportunities for playing governance roles in the context of healthcare facilities, thus offering their insight into nursing issues so that further guidelines and policies could be shaped accordingly (Christmals & Armstrong, 2019). The described change is likely to resonate with nurses particularly strongly due to the current disconnection between a significant portion of nursing policies’ content and the actual issues observed in the healthcare context. Without the insider perspective on the problems faced by nurses and patients in the healthcare setting, policymakers are unable to produce the regulations that safeguard the rights of patients and address their needs. Thus, offering nurses a greater range of autonomy in the promotion of nursing policies and the development of standards that will be applied in the healthcare context should be seen as a possible future change.

Moreover, the principles of shared governance is a crucial contribution to interdisciplinary collaboration and experience sharing among nurses should be seen as an important change to be expected in the future. It is believed that the current approach to governance will be shifted toward the shared one since it will allow nurses to gain greater autonomy, thus making decisions based on a combination of their accumulated experience and the system of theoretical knowledge that they have built.

Likewise, the current management principles do not appear to be applicable in addressing the future challenges. Although impressive progress has been achieved lately in the nursing management domain due to the transfer to the focus on promoting empathy in nurses as the main approach toward communication with patients, further changes are still necessary (Nene et al., 2020). Specifically, identifying the attributes that allow nurses to implement tasks in wards and in the healthcare context, in general, will have to be identified in order to foster them in the future. A process of pinpointing down the key qualities that allow nurses to perform well in the healthcare setting has already been launched, which is why it seems that a substantial part of the current management principles will work to advance the development of future trends (Phetlhu et al., 2018). However, along with the changes that have occurred recently, other alterations should be made so that the results of managing key nursing responsibilities should match the expected outcomes and contribute to building a healthier community.

Overall, although being headed in the right direction, the present-day principles of leadership, management and governance in nursing will have to undergo significant transformations in order to meet the challenges of future nursing. Specifically, to meet the needs of diverse groups, the emphasis must be placed on the sharing of nursing experience, as well as the promotion of nurses’ involvement in healthcare policymaking. Finally, the management of nursing that improves improved access to the related services must be deemed as an essential addition to the current nursing management practices. As a result, the existing leadership, management, and governance in nursing will correspond to the future challenges.

What do you think needs to be done in SA in order to better manage healthcare in the 21st century?

The challenges that the South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa are presently facing are quite numerous and very challenging impediments to providing the care of the required quality. Presently, poor access to care manifests itself in inappropriate quality of care offered to patients, as well as noticeable delays in the delivery of appropriate services (Corley et al., 2016). Moreover, drops in market costs in the Sub-Saharan African context have led to the lack of financial resources for purchasing the required diagnostic equipment, as well as medication and tools for providing proper treatment (Feldacker et al., 2017). Therefore, financial concerns and economic issues can be considered as the principal impediments to providing the necessary quality of care.

Similarly, low patient education levels can be blamed for the current situation among Sub-Saharan and South African (SA) residents. Namely, without due awareness concerning current health issues, as well as the threats that are inherent to the SA and Sub-Saharan environment, people cannot shield themselves from the emergent threats (Lahti et al., 2020). Therefore, promotion of health literacy can be considered another priority for SA and Sub-Saharan nurses. However, the described issue has been developing along with the increased shortage in the qualified nursing staff (Moyimane et al., 2017). Therefore, the focus should be placed on nurse education along with patient literacy, which creates quite a challenge for SA and Sub-Saharan healthcare authorities.

In order to address the current health concerns of the SA and Sub-Saharan African population, one should introduce tools or building patient literacy. Namely, the greatest threats that the target population is currently facing, including NCDs and COVID-19, will have to be described to the target audience, specifying the behaviors that will help avoid them and the ways of detecting a disease at the earliest stages. Afterward, opportunities for contacting healthcare services and receiving adequate treatment must be provided to SA and Sub-Saharan population. The specified process should start with the introduction of homogenous quality standards for the delivery of care. Although endeavors have been undertaken to create programs for addressing the low quality of care in the target region of Africa, low trust among residents in the efficacy of care combined with the absence of control over compliance with newly established standards has led to a very unfortunate outcome (Maphumulo & Bhengu, 2019). Therefore, the reconsideration of the current quality guidelines and the establishment of new ones on the statewide level as obligatory requirements for nurses should be seen as a necessity.

In addition to the development of accurately delineated guidelines for high-quality care, options for increasing the number of nurses in healthcare facilities must be considered a prerogative for nurses in the Sub-Saharan and SA context. As emphasized above, the lack of the competent staff represents a major impediment to providing patients with proper healthcare services, not to mention depriving them of the opportunity to increase their health literacy by receiving consultations and support from nursing experts. According to Maphumulo and Bhengu (2019, p. 2), “Africa is said to have less than one health worker per 1000 population compared to 10 per 1000 in Europe.” The specified numbers are drastically low, which implies that educational opportunities for nurses should be provided. Namely, a program aimed at providing educational options to students in nursing must be introduced into the SA and Sub-Saharan African environment.

The current context of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa can be described as lacking consistency in the healthcare services provided to residents. Due to the lack of human resources and the absence of clearly delineated guidelines for providing care, patients do not receive the required support and health education. Therefore, tools for introducing education opportunities for nurses and patients should be regarded as the priority along with the establishment of quality standards. Thus, crucial public health issues, including presence of NCDs, low patient recovery rates, length of hospital stay, and spreading of diseases, will be addressed accordingly.


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