As a fundamental human right, public healthcare is continually at the forefront of policies and regulation around the world. The UN’s specialised agency for international public health, the World Health Organisation (WHO), is constantly striving to fight diseases and ensure the survival of individuals from all parts of society. On 7 April 2020, this year’s World Health Day will place a spotlight focus on nurses and midwives, and their incredible role in providing health care around the globe.
Better measurements for better health
Undeniably, policy and governance are the heart of achieving universal healthcare coverage and providing nurses and midwives with the tools they need to deliver high quality care. In fact, cause-of-death and international health statistics are often an essential starting point for authorities to assess countries’ health systems and direct their public health actions. However, the provision of sustainable, safe and reliable health services around the world is also importantly underpinned by research in measurement science (or, metrology) – a field that governs our ability to measure everything that is needed for human activity. Metrology research has made it possible for modern society to rely on a fundamental international system, the International system of Units (SI), from which we can obtain globally comparable and reliable measurements. Metrology researchers today remain focused on developing new technologies and methods to improve our confidence in measurement accuracy.
At the most fundamental level, metrology research supports the effective diagnosis and treatment of wide-ranging health conditions. To date, innovations in healthcare have improved instrument efficiency, patient safety and diagnostic accuracy – all of which depend on accurate physical, chemical and biological measurements. From the quantification of infectious agents for the improved diagnosis of tuberculosis, to radiation dose measurements for the safe delivery of ultrasound cancer treatments; metrology plays an instrumental role in supporting clinicians and nurses with the diagnosis, treatment or even prevention of illnesses and diseases worldwide.
This metrology work is overseen at national level by NSAI’s National Metrology Laboratory, and at European level by EURAMET (the European Association of National Metrology Institutes). The organisations’ work has helped with the development of Medical Device Regulations, contributed to the advancement of MRIs, and day-to-day are providing innovative measurement solutions to help fight illness and disease.