Effectiveness in the delivery of critical care, which requires close evaluation, monitoring, and treatment, needs to be improved in resource-poor countries, say experts. In fact, cardiovascular disease will soon surpass even human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as the leading cause of mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the latest issue of Global Heart, researchers discuss the challenges of delivering critical care in resource-limited countries.
According to Guest Editors Vanessa Kerry, MD, MSc, and Sadath Sayeed, MD, JD, "Critical care as a clinical discipline in resource-rich settings is associated with high resource (financial, human, technological) intensity. For this reason, among others, critical care has received far less investment in resource-poor countries... Although numerous challenges to scaling up high quality intensive care services present themselves, even more opportunities to creatively innovate in this field exist that hold promise to move us closer to equity in global healthcare." They argue that investments in critical care need not be technology or cost intensive, but they should be appropriate and effective.
Critical care is an area of needed scale-up. Although the massive influx of effort and funding of HIV treatment has resulted in significant gains in life expectancy and health system strengthening, a lack of critical care resources in disadvantaged areas remains. Interventions in critical care in these settings are justified. In resource-limited settings, the majority of critically ill patients are children and young adults and avoiding preventable death would reduce mortality and disease burden as well as have socioeconomic impacts.
This issue of Global Heart
, "Critical Care in Resource-Limited Settings," includes coverage by a group of internationally recognized experts on important topics pertaining to the delivery of healthcare to low-income countries.