Global Health Trends – 2013 Update

March 6, 2013

This is an update on the piece on Global Health Trends (Whither Global Health?)  I wrote a little over two years ago.  In addition to what I have been observing in the interim,  I also polled some colleagues who work in the Global Health field.  These are some of the additional trends we have been noticing:

1.      An acceleration of the integration of issues (now including for example the role of climate change in health; and a focus on health clinics/systems more than any one disease)

The awareness that challenges are linked and solutions must be integrated as well that started in the 2000’s is accelerating. As a report from this year’s World Economic Forum acknowledges: “Health is created beyond the confines of hospital walls and doctors’ offices. It is being created in the places we work, the products we buy and (increasingly) the cities we live in.”

And further evidence of this trend: “They Need Other Medicine, too”

2.      Training the trainers

Paralleling other types of changes in global aid where we are seeing movement towards empowering local communities, there has also been an increasing trend of medical professionals training other medical professionals, rather than just providing one time clinics or other type of aid.

U.S. National Public Radio story “U.S. Doctors Head Overseas to Train, Not Just to Treat”

And one of my projects Helping Babies Breathe works on a training the trainers model.

3.      Growth of mobile health

From smaller workshops and conferences to those with increasingly large attendance such as the mhealth summit started earlier this decade.

4.      Increasing awareness of what needs to be done and how to do it, but less funding to do it

This is correlated over the past few years with a global economic crisis and may be cyclical.  This cyclical nature of funding seems to be leading towards some ideas for more sustainable funding mechanisms such as a Global Social Protection Fund

5.     Increasing focus on decentralization of health policy discussions

The re-creation of the Global Health Council  as the Global Health Coalition and  as a ‘network’ structure may be an acknowledgement (such as we see with the ‘train the trainers’ trend) that global health policy is being developed and implemented in a much wider array of locations around the globe.

What trends are you seeing?