Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Giorgi Kvizhinadze, Dr Eamonn Deverall, Prof Tony Blakely
A just published modelling study by the BODE3 Team has reported that “home safety assessment and modification” (e.g., adding hand rails and removing tripping hazards in homes) appears to be a very cost-effective health sector intervention. But even more cost-effective was targeting this intervention to older people with previous injurious falls. In this blog we take a closer look at this intervention and consider what policy-makers, NGOs and citizens might wish to consider doing in response to the evidence.
Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Nick Wilson
In this blog we comment for a second time this week on the consultation draft of the NZ Health Strategy, focusing this time on preventive interventions that actually would make a meaningful difference to health in Aotearoa NZ. The draft Strategy has many strong aspects, but by having a ‘people centred’ approach it gravitates to IT systems and individual-level actions, and drifts away from population-level prevention activities that would have the biggest health impact (a goal of the strategy), reduce health inequalities (another goal of the strategy) and be best value for money (yet another goal of the strategy). We recommend that the word ‘prevention’ needs to be more than a garnish sprinkled through the document, but rather an actual substantive item on the menu of offerings. We conclude by offering up some interventions for comparison, and note that the population-wide interventions not highlighted in the Strategy can have an impact on health gain and costs (savings) far in excess of those implicitly in the Strategy’s focus.
Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Richard Edwards, Prof Tony Blakely
The new draft NZ Health Strategy is strong on strengthening the health care system and has some strong population health aspects, at least rhetorically. It includes phrases like a system moving “from treatment to prevention”. But how does it fare when considering the science around burden of disease and interventions to address the 10 top risk factors for health loss in NZ? Unfortunately not well at all. There are no population health goals and minimal evidence of concrete action to address the major preventable causes of poor health and premature death. In summary, there seems plenty of scope for upgrading the draft Strategy if it is going to enable New Zealanders to “live well, stay well and get well”.
Associate Professor Nick Wilson, Professor Tony Blakely
A recently published review has quantified the estimated benefits and harms of taking regular aspirin for disease prevention. The results indicate a relatively favourable benefit-to-harm ratio (good for preventing various cancers and heart attacks – but also harmful in terms of causing gastric bleeding and one type of stroke). But for some people, the relative size of the benefit may still not be enough to outweigh the dislike of taking daily medication. This blog briefly looks at the issues and considers possible responses by NZ health agencies and research funders.