Rethinking developed nations’ health systems through a social sustainability perspective in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. A viewpoint

  • Gloria Macassa
    Department of Public Health and Sports Sciences, University of Gävle, Sweden.
  • Gianpaolo Tomaselli
    Department of Health Services Management, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta, Msida, Malta.


This viewpoint paper argues for the need for more socially sustainable care systems that can better contribute to equitable utilization of health care in a post-pandemic era. Health care systems in developed nations need to rethink their role, particularly with regard to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3) as well as becoming more sustainable societies. Socially sustainable care systems will recognize that systemic factors and processes (social, economic, environmental, cultural) need to be addressed simultaneously in order to achieve health equity. Moreover, these systems are likely to be of paramount importance for post-COVID-19, because of the potential increase in demand for health care due to forgone health care and the increased burden of chronic diseases as spillover effects related to COVID-19 mitigation interventions.