UNSDG (July 2020) The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed serious fault lines and vulnerabilities in societies, institutions and economies all around the world. The Arab region, home to 436 million people, initially kept transmission and mortality rates lower than the global average but more recent trends are cause for concern, especially in light of fragmented health care and insufficient primary care in many countries. The pandemic has also magnified many decades-long challenges.
This issue of Policy in Focus gathers articles from leading scholars, researchers and practitioners to discuss these challenges from different perspectives. They examine the current state of non-contributory social protection in the MENA region as a whole and in specific countries and explore how these countries have been coping with and learning from the recent economic and humanitarian crises.
unrisd.org (dec 2017) Prior to the spread of neoliberal policies in the 1980s, the standard arrangement in most of the MENA region was for the state to provide stable employment and extensive social welfare in exchange for acquiescence in the political arena. Although it stifled political dissent and participation, this social contract did bring about real progress in access to health care and education, with formal sector employees benefitting most from state-provided social protection.
We live in a digital world, yet the majority of medical records such as blood test reports or x-rays are stored on paper. Moreover, most hospitals don’t share access to medical records, which is time consuming for doctors when prescribing treatments and inconvenient for patients. Having medical records on the blockchain can have a positive effect on disease management, disease prevention, and minimize unnecessary healthcare expenses. Digital health records will also open up the possibility for cross-border sharing of medical data if a patient is on holidays and requires treatment abroad.