Challenging Global Health

Public health is a barrier to economic growth, so it is an essential part of a successful strategy for a nation. When we look internationally we can all see the disparity between how capable different nations are at handling this global challenge. It’s something worth thinking about.

It has become clear over many centuries of human cooperation that while groups of larger numbers of humans bring with it more complexity, if our systems can handle this level of complexity then our capacity to elevate our collective station increases. It’s no coincidence that the most potent forces both on the geopolitical stage but also in terms of scientific innovation tend to be the most effective cooperatives between huge populations of people.

While these unions only form in reaction to some external threat it’s worth considering as we move into an age where we start to develop our capacity to deal with problems that threaten all of us, like climate change how we might tackle global public health.

Right now, we primarily work in silos. For example, patent laws prevent the majority of populations from countries with lower average income from having access to many medications. This is because the pharmaceutical companies that produce these medications that sustain and continuously improve our public health rely on heavy reimbursement. Will this come to a head as the costs for the development of such drugs continue to rise? Who pays is a recurring question for every form of health care provision.

Digital Health can help here to a certain degree, once localised, many digital health solutions can empower an untrained person to save the lives of those around them which is the kind of solution that will be required to address public health in countries with extremely low Doctor to Patient ratios.

Despite a lower overhead than the development of pharmaceutical treatments, these kinds of solutions still need to funded if they are going to be developed. The obvious solution being various philanthropic funds, however what may be more attractive is data gained from offering treatment to people who can’t afford health care that can be applied to the treatment of those who can.

However digital health is still in it’s infancy and it seems likely that the most effective solutions for now will come from innovations targeted at EU and US markets adapted to less profitable markets.