Health without borders: How we can Improve International Collaboration in Health Care

Healthcare UN 2018

UNICEF/UN066510/Fuad At the Al Sab’een Hospital in Sana’a, Yemen, a doctor checks on a girl suffering from cholera.

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Shiva Hari Arjoon-Singh, a 5th Year Medical Student at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

International collaboration in health care involves systems and practices to improve health care for the population, via international collaborative effort in systems, research, education and strengthening of public health.

Utilisation of Established Institutes

In Trinidad and Tobago, John Hopkins Medicine International conducted a sound collaborative effort during the period 2006-2014. This country benefitted by the establishment of several programs both at the University level and throughout the Health Care System. In a similar manner other universities in Asia and Africa can be sourced to share their information in Tropical Diseases and Chronic Non Communicable Diseases. In this manner, the fight against Diabetes Mellitus and Heart Diseases can gain more success.

Mentorship Internationally

Medical Students across the globe are the future of medicine. In this context, mentorship programs for a period of thirty to sixty days whereby students can learn and participate in established health care protocols, can lead to future long term collaborative communication. I recently completed an observership at Kings Cross University, London during the period March 19 2018 to April 13, 2018. The knowledge that I gained there demonstrated the urgent need of improvement of health care in my own country Trinidad and Tobago.

Longevity

My maternal grandfather achieved the milestone of ninety-two years on June 11, 2018. I have learnt a lot from him and further saw the need for the establishment of international protocols for the aged. The global population is aging and hence the need for modification in public health issues regarding transportation, housing, insurance, and diet. International food chains target children and young adults. However, the elderly is rarely considered.

The Future

Intergovernmental collaboration is crucial to health care. Based on the advancement in medicine, science and research, it is clearly visible that international collaboration is the basis of success for the next generation. In a similar manner as the established Schedule of Immunization for children was created, protocols must be established for all challenging public health issues. Dialogue among Health Ministers, Education Ministers and Finance Ministers in various continents can bring to the forefront burning issues affection each other. Exchange of data in Maternal Health, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Chronic Non Communicable Diseases and Motor Vehicular Accidents can reduce the burden of each country by creating a detailed protocol to address these issues. Bi-annual seminars with support from international pharmaceutical organizations and non-governmental bodies can underpin and update established protocols.

Conclusion

In summary, health care is the business of the young, the old, the professional, the non-professional, the poor, the rich and the entire world population. International collaboration in the face of declining world economies, is the way of the future of health care. This can be achieved by challenging discussions, creation of protocols, mentorship of Medical Students, and utilisation of established health institutions to demonstrate and share knowledge and expertise.

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