Global Health: No More Business As Usual

It could be fair to say that there is no more “business as usual” when it comes how some view global health. While living among those privileged to have churches, clinics, or 24 hour convenient drug stores on every corner, linkages between developed and developing countries are seldom mentioned. However, these linkages demonstrate the minimization of the gaps between the two types, and emphasize the ever growing effect one has on the other.

I recall participating in a humanitarian mission overseas while serving in the military as a US Navy Hospital Corpsman, and awaiting the opportunity to use a payphone to call my parents back home in the states. Today, I can simply use my own cellphone with international capability, as well as use Skype or other software enabling video calls. Advances in telemedicine have improved medical response and have made possible opportunities for distant professionals to collaborate.

We celebrate nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), like Doctors Without Borders, who continue to provide multi-level healthcare. For those like me, who are working towards careers in global health, the job markets and organizational cultures are ever growing and continually shifting. Unfortunately, there exists the issue of the brain drain and the unavailability of properly trained medical personnel in much needed areas. However, increasing volunteer opportunities for students and professionals have assisted in dispersing talents and expertise when available. In academia, global health is becoming a regular table topic, and for some institutions it is a major that continues to attract the best and the brightest amongst those with a heart to serve.

No More Business As Usual
Many, regardless of living in a developed or developing country, may never have the opportunity to travel globally. However, those who seem to like the opportunity should consider the notion that global health is coming to them. The growing presence of local herbal shops and offices of holistic medical practitioners is a visual representation of the rising influence of global health challenges. In developed countries, citizens and foreigners who cannot afford to pay for expensive treatments and medications (or due to preference) visit these locations. Imagine, now you have a foreigner who could not afford healthcare in their home country, who is now unable to afford care in some developed countries.

Diverse funding opportunities can be credited for having opened doors for many to travel abroad to receive an education that may have not been possible decades ago. There is now a greater push for international quality healthcare standards due to increased access and dispersed medical in most areas of the global community; however, the implementation of these standards exist in development stages.

Traveling abroad has often presented apprehension in cases of medical emergencies, in areas that have traditionally lacked medical facilities and personnel, as well as concerns regarding the skill levels of medical personnel who lacked formal training. Now, the possibility of locating a clinician who studied at an accredited institution is increasing; in addition, the existence of an accredited institution is now a reality for some poor countries.

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