Welcome to AMSA Global Health’s Weekly Blog,
Over this coming year, we will be showing you all the amazing things that Australian Medical Students are doing in the field of global health as well as some of the exciting developments that occur on the international stage.
But what even is ‘global health’?
Well surprisingly the term global health is a relatively new concept. It arose alongside the era of ‘globalisation’ in the early 2000s. However it wasn’t until 2009 (by which time AMSA Global Health had already been started!) that a reasonable consensus on the definition was reached.
In an influential Lancet publication, Jeffrey Koplan of The Emory University Institute of Global Health laid out the definition as:
“An area of study, research of practice that places priority on improving health and achieving health equity for all people worldwide”
While this definition has been refined a few times since then, the fundamental principle of achieving health equity remains the central aim of all global health endeavours. Primarily global health focuses on the determinants of health which ignore the boundaries of states and are therefore beyond the capacity of any single individual country to address.
So what’s big in global health at the moment?
As Malcolm Turnbull might say: There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in global health! Over the past three years, we have seen large steps towards setting the global health priorities and agenda for the next decade.
In 2015, the release of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations laid the framework for international cooperation to tackle some of the biggest global health issues we currently face.
Last year Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the previous Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister, was elected as the new WHO Director-General. He laid out five key priorities for the WHO over the next five years:
- The provision of Universal Health Coverage for all
- The ability to respond quickly and effectively to future health emergencies
- Addressing the health impacts of climate and environmental change
- Improving women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health
- Transforming the WHO into an organisation for the future
Additionally we have also seen private NGOs take a bigger role in setting the agenda for global health with organisations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the GAVI Alliance spearheading the push to end malaria and improve the childhood mortality rate by increasing vaccinations.
It is a fast and ever-changing space. Global health five years ago will be very different to the state of global health in five years time. So get involved with AMSA Global Health to learn more about the sheer variety of work that you are able to do and keep up to date
With our national projects dedicated to raising awareness of key global health issues within our community, with our education events offering students the ability to understand the complexity of each of these issues, and with our international arm offering students the chance to get involved with organisations such as the WHO, there is no better place to learn about global health than at AMSA Global Health.
Whatever it is that you are passionate about, we are keen to hear from you and get you involved this year. We would love to meet all of you at our first Council in Sydney on March 24th – 25th. Registrations are now open, so get in quick while early bird prices are still available.
Stay tuned for more blogs throughout the year!
All the global health love,
AMSA Global Health Chair 2018