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EVs reflecting on 2018 & looking forward to 2019

By The editorial team
on December 21, 2018

A number of Emerging Voices (alumni) and other young researchers reflected on 2018 from a global health point of view, on our request. Some also came up with suggestions for the following year(s). You find their short quotes below. We hope they inspire you in the year to come!

Reaffirming primary health care as the most equitable and sustainable strategy to achieve UHC, at the Astana conference, was one of the main areas of progress in 2018. But PHC (& UHC) cannot be achieved without good leadership and governance. Also, the mere existence of health policies/strategies does not suffice, their implementation matters too, and perhaps even more!”  (Anar Ulikpan, EV 2010, Mongolia)

Globally, is it possible for us to channel our energy from being excited for HSG Dubai 2020 to rather implementing the latest Liverpool statement? Nationally, the South African health system is in crisis, always has been and will continue to be unless we galvanise, tackle this head on, who’s in?”   (Shakira Choonara, EV 2014, SA)

Preventable diseases killing us by the millions, while burdening health systems and national economies, could have been and may be sizably cut down through the evergreen promise of PHC. Countries rushing to invest or divest to win immediate political favor shouldn’t miscalculate the importance of looking into the future.”  (Irene Torres, Fundaction Octaedro, Ecuador)

In global health, we are obsessed by events and debates at the international arena, and we often lose track of successes at the national level. For instance, few people noticed that 2018 was a special year for public health legislation in my home country, Philippines. Since January, Congress has passed several important laws for enhancing universal health coverage, ramping up the response to the growing HIV epidemic, setting up mental health care systems, enhancing children’s life chances through investments in the first 1,000 days, improving access to quality cancer care, raising standards for occupational health and safety, among others. The first law of public health? Never underestimate the public health power of the law. If well-crafted, broadly-supported, and effectively-implemented, legislation can save lives – one nation at a time!”  (Renzo Guinto, EV 2014, Philippines)

The interest in evidence-informed health policy and practice has been increasing. Searching ‘knowledge translation’ in PubMed showed a seven-fold increase in publications in the last decade. Yet, researchers, policy-makers and other stakeholder must exchange more, and there’s still much work to be done and money to be invested in institutionalizing such efforts.”  (Olivia Biermann, EV 2018, Germany/Sweden)

2018: The year GoFundMe became standard of care, or the story of Why We Need Universal Health Care in Every Country.” (Kati Wilkins, EV 2016, US)

“The global health community needs to step up its game on health and the environment. The global health community continues to be too quiet about the importance of climate change for health. Individuals from countries that need to adapt their behaviour (EU, China, Canada, UK, Australia…) need to make climate engagement part of their work – keeping temperature increase to 1.5C is an easy message. The COP meets every year – put pressure on your government to be bold.” (Rachel Hammonds, Canada)

“Sexual ‘health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being…’. So, to advance health, global health institutions must combat sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation at all levels, in their programming, as well as in the organisational culture, policy and practice. We must practice what we preach!” (Clara Affun-Adegbulu, UK)

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