Global health challenges

I feel very strongly that everyone in healthcare should understand the global context in which we all work. The challenges that face us today are global and we need to find global solutions.

The challenges that face us today are global and we need to find global solutions.

For that reason, I helped to initiate and develop a Global Health programme at the Royal Society of Medicine six years ago which promotes global health education for the benefit of UK and overseas professionals. As part of this programme, we organise workshops, networking events and an annual conference which brings together a wide range of people from all over the world to talk about issues which affect everyone. At a worrying time in politics when nations are increasingly looking inwards, this is more important than ever.

This year, our conference on April 24th 2017, in conjunction with the King’s Centre for Global Ageing, King’s College London, focuses on the topic of Global Ageing – challenges and opportunities. It’s a vitally important issue, especially in the light of the demographic transformation highlighted by the fact that the number of people aged 65 and over is expected to triple from 534 million in 2010 to 1.5bn in 2050. The data suggests that, whereas previously, in western societies, there were seven employed people for every retired person, that ratio has now fallen to four to one. In other words, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the current situation, which relies on workers supporting older people in retirement with their taxes, to remain viable from a financial standpoint.

We will be covering issues ranging from HIV and ageing, to access to medicines and innovation. Dr John Beard, director of the Ageing and Life Course department at the World Health Organisation, is giving the opening talk.

We will be covering issues ranging from HIV and ageing, to access to medicines and innovation.

Professor Martin Rossor, who heads up the Dementia Research Centre at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, will be talking about future policies for dementia care. This is a pressing concern in the UK but is also a massive challenge for many countries where age-related dementia is becoming a major health issue. We will also be glad to welcome Professor Jane Anderson, director of the Centre for the Study of Sexual Health & HIV at the Homerton University Hospital. The effectiveness of anti-viral drugs to combat HIV infection has been one of the great success stories in medicine over the last 20 years, but now we have to consider the health needs of people with HIV who are reaching retirement age.

Throughout my career, I have been committed to the development of healthcare in low and middle income countries. Since 1990, I have participated in surgical missions to a number of countries in Africa, Asia and South America.  I have worked and taught in Palestine for over 16 years and continue to do so, helping to establish cardiac services  for children in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza  as part of a multi-national alliance.

I don’t expect medics to necessarily follow in my footsteps and work in locations around the world, but I do hope that they can look at the bigger picture in healthcare and share and learn from their colleagues from different countries and cultures. It’s a two way process that benefits everyone.

We hope that many professionals will join us on the day and hope to see students, academics, social scientists as well as clinicians and policy makers. There will also be a dinner after the meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine in central London which all delegates can attend for a charge.

For further information, please contact Amy Stratton on 0207 2902980 or email [email protected]

Babulal Sethia
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