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Health | Ageing

Global health should be strategic imperative

Global health should be seen as an international strategic imperative, former World Health Organisation Associate Director, Dr Jack Chow has told a CEDA audience in Adelaide.

 

“It involves the productivity of countries, it involves the national security of countries and with Zika I would assert that there’s a threat to cultural security,” he said.

Dr Chow said the global health landscape is dynamic and constantly changing especially in recent years with the Ebola and Zika outbreaks.

“We have both flashdemics which are these new intense outbreaks and we also have in the general term broad spectrum epidemics, epidemics that cut across class and cultures,” he said.

Globally, we need to think broadly in terms of building effective and efficient health systems, he said.

“We need a global architecture for health data and to assemble it in a way that is meaningful,” he said.

Dr Chow said no discussion of global health can be without addressing poverty.

In developed countries such as Australia and the United States, poverty alleviation is also important especially with increased globalisation and the rise of drug resistant disease strains.

“The global health agenda is really not just an offshore agenda,” he said.

On the topic of using technology to bridge the divide between remote and non-remote communities, Dr Chow said flying drones are already used in parts of the world and could be used in Australia. 

“The concept of having flying convoys that can deliver medicines to rural regions for not only supply chain but for emergency relief and it’s not just theory,” he said.

“There’s a company in California and they’re contracted with the Rwandian government to deliver medicines to the hinterland.”

Discussing the upcoming presidential election in the United States, Dr Chow said there are implications for global health.

Dr Chow said due to her roles as Secretary of State and First Lady, Hilary Clinton has an intricate knowledge and view of the importance of health in regards to America’s soft power. 

“She has been an advocate of American soft power in health and I just make the projection that if she should be elected, this support, this consideration of American soft power would only continue,” he said.

“The other candidate arguably has no track record as I objectively can tell in either regular health or global health.

“I think it would be unpredictable as to what his view would be with regards to American soft power.”

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