Healthcare is something we are lucky enough to take for granted. As much as we like to complain about the mile long waiting lists and dark and dingy waiting rooms in our local hospitals, ultimately if we are ill, we will – at some point – be seen by a doctor who has the intent of making us better. This basic right to health, however, remains unobtainable for millions of women, men and children over the globe.
Over the last century, huge health advances have occurred, mainly in wealthy countries – but many of the diseases that are no longer a problem for rich countries, continue to devastate people in the developing world. More recently, global health has come to the forefront of many debates and large investments by governments, charities and private companies are beginning to make an impact. For example, programmes which fund childhood vaccines have pushed basic immunisation rates to all-time heights.
Health, however, is not only a subject for doctors, nurses and research scientists; health is also related to basic issues such as sanitation, clean water supply and stable infrastructure. Without these essential factors – global health aims cannot be achieved. It is therefore essential for these issues to be focused on, not as separate problems – but as one with health management.
Global health is a complex subject, which rapidly changes as global politics, lifestyle choices, ageing and many more factors become involved. As global health is increasingly getting the attention it deserves, research becomes more and more essential to the development of effective and affordable solutions. Improvements in the health of people worldwide is slowly making global health become what it always should have been – a basic human right.
If you would like to take up a career in this area you could be:
- An overseas doctor – diagnosing and treating illness, disease and infection in patients overseas
- A health promotion specialist – working to improve the health of the population as a whole through education, or working to improve the health of individuals and helping to increase their control of it.
- A nutrition specialist – working in devleoping countries to provide advice about the effects of food and nutrition on health and well being
- An immunisation specialist
- An A&E nurse – working in trauma management at the site of worldwide natural disasters
- A maternity support worker – helping midwives provide care to women, their partners and babies, before, during and after childbirth
- A tropical disease specialist – carrying out research into tropical diseases to help develop treatments and cures
- An infectious disease specialist – diagnosing, treating and managing the disease outcome of patients suffering from various disesases including malaria, HIV and other infections
- A public health nurse – caring for patients around the globe
- An international project officer – working on international health and relief-work projects
- A paediatric nurse – working with children in developing countries suffering from a range of illnesses and conditions
- A public health physician – looking after the health of individuals and whole communities, protecting them from medical concerns and emergencies