According to UNICEF, Africa’s children will reach 1 billion by 2055, becoming the largest pediatric population among all continents. This will require an additional
4.2 million health workers above the current growth to meet WHO minimum standards of care. The provision of surgical care in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is specifically under considerable strain due to several limiting factors such as access to health resources, lack of medically trained personnel and poor compliance with antenatal care. What ensues is an unfortunately high mortality rate compared to high-income countries (HICs). Over half of the world’s 5.4 million under-five deaths in 2017 occurred in Africa. A recent global health study has shown unacceptable disparities in survival for common pediatric surgical conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa compared to HICs. Urgent action is needed to meet SDG 3.2 to end preventable deaths in under-fives by 2030.
One out of five people in the world today experiences a mental disorder in any given year. Mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of age, race and economic or social class, and most of us will be affected at some point in our lives, indirectly or directly. In many parts of the Asia-Pacific region, appropriate care may not be available and access to mental health care may be limited. Women, who play a predominant role in caregiving both for the elderly and children and often head single-parent families, seem to have a higher and more persistent prevalence of depression and anxiety. It is a problem with consequence for the future: 50% of mental illnesses begin at an early age. Moreover, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has created an environment where many determinants of poor mental health are exacerbated. Mental health-related stigma and lack of inclusion of individuals with mental illness remain important areas of concern. This includes healthcare provider’s omission on mental illnesses as well as community awareness on mental health. Partly mental health care can be assessed by the supply of professionals and the availability of psychiatric beds in different settings. Another prerequisite for appropriate access to mental health care is the absorption of costs by public sector and healthcare providers. Clearly, mental health is a most relevant public health, economic and societal issue.
The improvement in health and access to health care has been unquestionable in recent decades. This is mainly due to improved hygiene, higher economic levels and technological advances in both diagnosis and treatment.
At the same time, environmental damage has never been so great and has a negative impact on human health. The influence of environmental degradation on health can manifest itself in different ways:
- Pollution leads directly to illness and death
- Lifestyle habits (sedentary lifestyle, stress, urbanisation, immunisation, etc.) are the source of the increase in pathologies (chronic diseases, obesity, etc.)
- Natural disasters caused by various causes (climate change, environmental disturbances, deforestation, etc.)
- Degradation of food and water resources caused by various factors (climate change, deforestation, pollution, demographic imbalance, etc.)
- Migration caused by resource degradation
- Constraints on the animal world and the environment are sources of antibiotic resistance and the emergence of infectious diseases (Ebola, Zika, Chickungunyia, avian flu, etc.)
Environmental damage will become increasingly important and economic and technological progress will no longer be sufficient to improve human health if we do not act on the environment.
The Planetary Health and One Health approaches encourage us to break out of our silos and develop joint actions that combine human health, animal health and environmental health.
Although this is beginning to be recognised, the introduction of these new concepts into the curricula of professional training courses is embryonic and uneven depending on the discipline.
Nevertheless, many master's and doctoral courses are being developed around the One Health/Planetary Health themes. Who are these courses aimed at, what are their contents, what are their objectives and how do participants use them?
These are some of the questions we would like to explore in this workshop by sharing the experiences of existing training courses and the expectations of future training courses.
To be effective, public health actions can no longer be carried out in isolation. There is a growing need to create synergies between actors, to share information, health data and research results.
The Geneva Health Forum, like other platforms, aims to bring together the various actors working in global health and wish to facilitate initiatives. However, it is sometimes difficult to find one's way through the ever-growing number of information and stakeholder networks. The development of artificial intelligence algorithms makes it possible to create increasingly important systems for recommending information or people.
The goal of a recommender system is to generate meaningful recommendations to a collection of users for items, products or persons that might interest them. Here, we aim to design and develop recommender systems adapted to the needs and the requirements of public health actors to facilitate collaboration and knowledge exchange around public health thematic.
Switzerland holds a unique position of being home to numerous public and private sector healthcare organizations, academic institutions conducting critical research as well as commercial healthcare and biotech entities which are active in the women’s health space. Taken together, these organizations are engaged in a range of activities related to women’s health needs and advocating for addressing gender biases and inequalities in health, supporting access to SRH services/commodities, defending SRH and rights of individuals, and are active in a broad range of issues relevant to women’s health within the broader global health context. Despite these common interests, many of these actors do not always engage with one another outside of their immediate networks or beyond specific/direct organization to organization partnerships and lack a common platform to come together to exchange and collaborate on shared issues and actions.
The objective of the Swiss Women’s Health Alliance is to offer regular opportunities and a forum for exchange for Swiss organizations, companies and individuals working in women’s health to come together and facilitate collaboration and joint activities. We aim to establish a community committed to addressing key and emerging global health concerns and other gender-related challenges that impact women’s overall health and well-being, with an initial priority on SRH issues and other issues that are directly or indirectly impacted by a lack of universal access to SRH commodities, services, and rights.
The purchase of quality medicines and medical equipment remains a major problem in many rural areas of Africa, undermining the promise of universal access to care. Hspitals and health centers are not always able to obtain regular supplies from regional or national public procurement centers. Management of pharmacies is not always optimal resulting in stockouts and expiry date overruns. Private pharmacies are few in rural areas.
Their poor controlled supply circuits favor the presence of fake drugs that has become a real public health problem. The lack of pharmaceutical distribution relays prevents the creation of a drug market outside capital cities. This situation does not encourage the commitment of international companies.
The creation of reliable distribution networks in Africa is therefore an important issue. In some countries, the supply of pharmacies is provided by a buying cooperative (a wholesaler owned by the participating pharmacies).
We would like to explore
- how to develop pharmaceutical distribution networks in African countries
- Whether distribution cooperatives are a suitable model for Africa