Global Challenges and Local Solutions
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Global Challenges and Local Solutions

Photo by:   Jorge Valdez
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By Jorge Eugenio Valdez - School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tec de Mty.
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The topic of COVID-19 has dominated healthcare for the last few years, dramatically shifting the needs and requirements of the sector. In Mexico, and almost three years after the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis, health services have been rethought and transformed in the form of operation in care and protocols used in hospitals for their areas of general consultation, emergency, and intensive care.  Globally, health systems are also rebooting, due to the confinement and adaptability that the population had to face during the pandemic, while the health profession in the 21st century also evolved.

Deloitte has assessed the current state of the global healthcare sector and the challenges ahead in its 2022 Global Health Care Outlook report. “Shifting consumer preferences and behaviors, the integration of life sciences and the healthcare sector, rapidly evolving digital health technologies, new talent and care delivery models, and clinical innovation continue to be top of mind for healthcare executives globally,” says Stephanie Allen, Deloitte’s Global Public Healthcare and Social Services Leader, and author of the report.

There are six key issues shaping the future of global healthcare, according to Deloitte’s findings. Health equity has become a priority, environmental, social and governance strategies are needed for resilience, mental health and well-being have come to the fore, digital transformation and medical science are advancing at a rapid pace, and  public health is being reimagined.

A response to these challenges has been proposed in the 2022 World Health Summit that focuses on the theme, Making the Choice for Health.  The purpose is to stimulate innovative approaches to health challenges worldwide; reaffirm the position of global health as a key political issue; foster health and well-being of all; and strengthen the international exchange of information.

The Summit, which is co-organized by the World Health Summit and World Health Organization (WHO), aims to engage global health leaders and stakeholders from all sectors in all regions of the world to consider the following topics: Investment for Health and Well-Being; Climate Change and Planetary Health; Architecture for Pandemic Preparedness; Digital Transformation for Health; Food Systems and Health; Health Systems Resilience and Equity; and Global Health for Peace.

In a globalized world, over the years new trends have emerged to face these challenges. It is imperative to think and act across geographical or disciplinary boundaries to address these new health challenges. In that sense in recent days, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences of the Tecnológico de Monterrey organized the International Forum on Health Leadership (FILS) where it was proposed that thinking about solutions to these issues is a challenge not only for doctors, nurses, and health personnel, but for society. The focus was on four major areas relevant to our country; a) longevity, non-communicable diseases and multimorbidity, b) genes and environment, c) early childhood Health, d) rethinking health professions for the 21st century. 

To fast-track action at this time of crisis, we must have a discussion around what educators of health professionals could do in terms of leadership in relation to global health. We know that some colleagues do not feel that such a topic and advocacy for it should be included in an already over-crowded curricula but, increasingly, health professionals and students are concerned about the lack of appropriate leadership to tackle the global challenges.

Global health teaches us that we must converge and think globally to generate sustainable and high-impact local solutions. We live in an era where accelerated growth demands that professionals and students are committed to their environment and motivated to work collaboratively, while addressing the challenges of this new century through different perspectives. These local solutions require a collaborative, interdependent culture and solutions that cut across function, region, and profession. Health professionals must learn to shift away from the “individual expert” model so common in today’s healthcare systems and move toward a model that leverages cross-boundary groups and teams and spans disciplines, levels, functions, generations, and professions. The competencies required for health professionals and their organizations must continue to evolve for both to thrive. 

These challenges cannot wait. Leaders already are required in key positions in academia and healthcare practice to drive the agenda in partnership with their learners and patients, many of whom may already be global health advocates and activists.  

As academic healthcare institutions, we have the opportunity to provide the space for the exchange of knowledge that addresses the challenges of global health; showcase innovations that facilitate global health education; engage local community leaders  in policy making endeavors relevant to global challenges; and continue to stimulate a consistent and productive debate on global health challenges.

Healthcare organizations have the opportunity to rethink and approach the development of healthcare professionals in a new, strategic, comprehensive way, while working on real and immediate solutions to meet healthcare challenges. Hopefully, this reflection will serve to call on the different sectors within the healthcare community to find the most effective mechanisms of action to better face global challenges.

Photo by:   Jorge Valdez

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