In a new exclusive interview with McKinsey & Co, Dr. Akram Bouchenaki, CEO, Abdul Latif Jameel Health discusses the global trends in health equity—and new possibilities for solutions. 

In response to a question over whether healthcare disparities are an evergreen challenge—and perhaps even the norm, Dr. Bouchenaki said:

“The healthcare disparities we see today are acute. If this were a patient you were trying to treat, right now we’d be in a crisis phase. These disparities have always existed, but the pandemic has made them even more pronounced and visible. Look at a simple example: the world average of COVID-19 vaccination is above 60 percent; in Africa, it is about 15 percent.

“But disparities are also chronic. Looking at healthcare spend between the United States and an African market, for example, you see magnitudes of difference. You cannot expect to get similar access to care in a country that is spending $10,000 per person per year on healthcare as in a country or region that is spending $250 per person a year. And the truth is, you also see these differences within countries.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown, starkly, that we are one world. We are a small planet, and we absolutely cannot think in silos. Combating disparities in access to care is the moral thing to do, and the good thing to do.”

When asked what excites him about the future, he is positive:

“It’s all very exciting. We are in a unique time in the history of medical science. Right now, there is an incredible conjunction of chemistry, biology, cellular therapy, and artificial intelligence. The work that has been done over the past two decades in understanding the human genome is now yielding results, and the understanding of new cellular pathways to disease is a reality. Small companies and small research labs are hugely productive these days.”

Read the full article in its original location here.