In temporary clinics in the slums of Asia and rundown hospitals in Africa I met remarkable people who were finding new solutions and working out how to use the materials at hand to provide for patients……Unconstrained by our history, they train people differently, create new sorts of organisations, involve families and communities and concentrate more on promoting health rather than on just tackling disease. They don’t have our resources or our baggage.
Most challenging of all are the questions about resources. What should we learn about training health workers and introducing technology — or are we content to stick with professional structures and working arrangements created 50 years ago?
Governments and leaders who know how hard it is to make changes should take heart from one group. Many young health professionals are very interested in global health and eager to experience and learn from poor countries as well as to acquire the knowledge and skills of richer ones. They are gaining the all-round expertise that will help them to become the health professionals we need for the 21st century.
The former chief executive of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service and Permanent Secretary of its Department of Health has a new book out in which he links what he learned from running the largest health system in the world and to his insights from working on global health.
The theme was taken up in a recent piece from Kaiser Health News exploring developing nations as laboratories for health care innovation. Can we look abroad for health care lessons? Check out the examples in the article, and tell us what you think.