4.2 Horizontal Interventions vs. Pathogen-Specific Interventions

Two basic approaches are used in control and prevention programs against infectious diseases that also indicate the broader healthcare system. These are horizontal and vertical approaches.

The horizontal approach includes interventions against all pathogens existing within a population. The control measures and prevention efforts used in this approach are generalized and not focused on specific pathogens or diseases. This broad-based approach has multiple programs running simultaneously.

However, unlike the horizontal approach, a vertical approach or pathogen-specific intervention targets particular threats to the population at a given time.

Both intervention approaches have their place in the healthcare system. However, horizontal intervention is more preventive and slow-acting, while the pathogen-specific or vertical approach narrows in on the current threat a population is facing.

But the vertical approach can be costly, and due to it being specific, it does not render much support to the surrounding threats present in the system that could be affecting the overall disease dynamic present in an ecosystem.

However, no one can deny the importance and need for vertical interventions, especially when the world is afflicted with the COVID-19 pandemic. The first response and immediate retaliation required from our healthcare systems come in the form of population or pathogen-specific interventions.

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