This month the regional meeting of the World Health Summit took place in Coimbra, Portugal. The conference focused on four main themes: managing infectious diseases in low and middle-income countries, governance for health equity in low and middle-income countries, opportunities and challenges in translating innovation into healthcare and biomedical education for a changing world 1. Under the motto “We are creating together the future of Global Health”, the meeting gathered academics, health specialists and even national authorities from several high and low-income countries, with a large representation of CPLP (Community of Portuguese Language Countries/Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa).
During the workshop “Communicable Diseases vs Non-Communicable Diseases”, Dr. Magda Robalo, Director of the Communicable Diseases Cluster (CDS) at the WHO Regional Office for Africa, warned of the need to intervene in low-income countries, when she said, “we don’t have neglected diseases. We have neglected people suffering from tropical diseases.”
Some of the questions raised were about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to which level should the policies be implemented. The financing problems were also discussed, and some successful measures were referred to, such as the tobacco and fossil fuel disinvestment campaigns, or the alcohol and tobacco taxation.
Dr. Ilona Kickbusch, Director of the Global Health Centre and adjunct professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, left a message for the developing countries that are now building their health system: “Please don’t copy ours. Otherwise, you won’t have people-centered healthcare.” The importance of primary care and working with communities was also underlined, reaffirming the relevance of the Alma Ata Declaration.
During the two days, there were several discussions on current issues and special attention was given to the Global Health agenda priorities and challenges.
This meeting will be followed by the World Health Summit in Berlin, from the 14th to 16th October later this year. If you want to know more about pandemic preparedness, health systems strengthening, antimicrobial resistance, digital healthcare revolution, migration and refugee health, and the SDGs: health in all policies, maybe this event is a good opportunity for you.
- World Health Summit Regional Meeting 2018, Available at: <https://www.worldhealthsummit.org/regional-meeting/program.html>
Gisela Leiras is a medical doctor in Portugal. She graduated from Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, and is currently doing her Public Health specialization in Coimbra. She concluded her Information Management and Business Intelligence in Health post-graduation this year. Her main interests in global health include infectious disease, health inequities, health economics and innovation in health and data analysis tools.
Cover picture by Joakim Honkasalo on Unsplash