According to a study carried out at the University of Helsinki, excess mortality and case fatality associated with COVID-19 were directly linked to the financial and organisational structures of healthcare systems. In countries whose healthcare funding was more based on public financing, COVID-19 mortality was lower than in systems based on private consumption.
“The countries whose healthcare systems performed well already before the coronavirus pandemic also fared better in terms of reducing COVID-19 mortality,” says Doctoral Researcher Iris Moolla from the University of Helsinki.
Canada, Australia and New Zealand fared well in addition to Western and Northern Europe
The study compared the performance of healthcare systems in 43 developed countries during the coronavirus pandemic and how the characteristics of healthcare in these countries were linked to COVID-19 mortality before the emergence of the Omicron variant. In addition to the countries of Western and Northern Europe, the countries that stood out positively were Canada, Australia and New Zealand, while the countries of Eastern Europe and South America fared the worst. Finland ranked fairly well, in the top ten.
According to the study, investment in the funding, facilities and staff of public healthcare systems reduces COVID-19 mortality more than investment in systems that rely on private funding.
“The anticipation of pandemics can be improved by increasing the resources of public healthcare and improving its functioning,” says Professor Heikki Hiilamo from the University of Helsinki.
The study focused on OECD countries and non-member economies. The survey of the characteristics of healthcare systems was based on the researchers’ previous studies, where healthcare systems in developed countries were classified by funding, service provision and performance.
The article entitled "Health system characteristics and COVID-19 performance in high-income countries" was published in the BMC Health Services Research journal: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-023-09206-z.
Iris Moolla +358 44 250 6303
Heikki Hiilamo +358 40 358 7203