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Preventive Health Services and Economic Development

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Preventive Health Services and Economic Development

Importance of Prevention in Healthcare

The disease burden has high costs which is influencing the global economy. This is reflected in the increased burden of diseases and global inflation. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to global inflation which is estimated to be 7.5 percent in August 2022 compared to 2.1 percent in the decade before the pandemic (Binici et al., 2022) Additionally, the aging population is growing, and hence their healthcare needs. As those needs are expected to rise continually, this is putting more pressure on the limited healthcare resources. As a result, policymakers and governments are giving more attention to preventive services which will help in saving healthcare resources(Stanfield, 1993, Maciosek et al., 2010).

Prevention and economic development

Both economic development and the prevention of ill health are related. It is found that as the share of the governmental spending on prevention increases, the well-being of the individuals increases. Accordingly, the productivity of those individuals and the economic development increase (Wang and Wang, 2021). It is negotiated whether some preventive measures save money or not such as screening programs which are costly, however, this depends on the frequency of screening and the risk of the target conditions(Russell, 1993).

Spending on the prevention of diseases serves as an investment in the economy. Investment of 1 $ on acute infectious pandemic diseases such as coronavirus is estimated to save an average of 7$ on the treatment of those diseases. Similarly, spending on the prevention of acute infectious diseases would yield an economic return within a period of 6-12 months. Also, spending 1 $ on the prevention of chronic diseases is estimated to save an average of 7$ if the indirect costs of productivity loss as a result of the disease are calculated (Organization, 2018).

Directing the governmental resources to prevention will aid in economic development and in increasing productivity among the different sectors. This will help the governments to direct the saved spending to other sectors such as infrastructure projects and social services (Lien et al., 2021).

So, both the elderly and the young population will be positively affected by the preventive services through increasing productivity among all age groups (Wang and Wang, 2021).

Prevention and Health Expenditure

Chronic diseases increase health expenditure; therefore, prevention of chronic diseases decrease the health expenditure in the countries. Prevention of disease occurs through prevention of its risk factors.

  • Examples from countries
  • In the United States and Mexico obesity among adults and children contributes to the burden of disease and health expenditure.
  • In France and Austria, tobacco and alcohol consumption act as risk factors for chronic illnesses and therefore lead to more health expenditure.

Consequently, prevention of the risk factors will prevent chronic diseases and will result in less heath expenditure (Wang, 2018). This can be through prevention efforts which positively influence the health behaviors such as health education. Also, community screening to prevent the complications of the chronic conditions resulting from those risk factors.

Inequalities in Prevention

  • Health promotion is essential in different communities to raise the awareness of the role of prevention in better health and wellbeing. Some countries have planned health promotion and preventive programs to raise such awareness and to elevate the role of prevention. However, it is found that some socioeconomic and demographic factors influence the individuals which benefit from such services (Shimoda et al., 2021, Chu and Lawana, 2021).
  • The barriers and sources of inequalities in up taking preventive health services such as regular checkups include(Al-Hanawi and Chirwa, 2021):
  • The area of residence: Individuals living in rural areas are less likely to use preventive health services.
  • The level of education: Individuals with higher education levels are more likely to use preventive health services.
  • Health insurance: Individuals covered by health insurance are more likely to use preventive health services.


Preventive health expenditure complements curative health expenditure and is not a waste of money. Preventive health expenditure leads to better economic performance in both high- and low-income settings. Therefore, governments are recommended to invest in the primary and secondary preventive programs for better productivity, better economic performance and better individuals’ wellbeing and quality of life.

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