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Building better Health

NearU

23 Oct, 2022

We spend most of our time in our homes, neighbourhoods and workplaces yet we still isolate healthcare to something that only happens at the doctors or the hospital - we refer to this as the last mile. The ‘last mile’ is often used in transportation, supply chain management and telecommunications to describe the challenging final portion of the journey where goods or services are actually delivered to the consumer.

Health, as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is a state of “complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

Social determinants of health (SDH) are the non-medical influences over health and account for as much as 90% of health outcomes - making them the foundation of first mile health. SDH are the surroundings that people are born into, grow around and all other wider forces and systems shaping daily life. Such forces and systems include economic, social and political policies and systems, development goals and normative behaviours.

The first mile of health is supporting good health long before resorting to medical care. Supporting good health means:

1. Understanding what local communities truly need.
2. Understanding peoples dynamic needs.
3. Giving people the knowledge, tools and incentives to support wellbeing.

Health must become a collective mindset and a way of living in order to transform and change our approach to health and well-being at scale. This can be achieved through a greater focus on solving the first mile problems challenging our health.

We all have a role to play in determining our health outcomes - starting with how we live and how we work. It is these factors have the greatest impact over our individual and collective health outcomes. Now is an opportunity for every sector to bring a positive impact to peoples lives and to the way we all live.
Chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes can be hard to treat but what if we provided as many resources towards there prevention as we do towards their treatment and cures? If we can solve problems earlier in the healthcare journey we can live happier and healthier while spending less money and losing less lives through preventable causes.