What in the world is global health?

December 22, 2016

You could be forgiven for coming to university knowing very little about global health – but it’s one of the most important things you’ll ever learn in your journey to become a health professional.

Global health is define as “an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving health equity for all people worldwide”. Whether you decide to work in your home country or travel around the globe, understanding the strengths and limitations of different healthcare systems and the needs of many different types of people is a huge advantage.

Global health is diverse

Global health is far more than understanding the difference between health insurance in the States and the National Health System in the United Kingdom, for instance. It encompasses developing countries where the prevalence, and mortality rate, of preventable diseases such as malaria and malnutrition are extremely high. It includes complex nations where citizens may be entitled to healthcare but cannot afford to travel to receive it. Global health looks at the many practical, political and social ways we can improve access to lifesaving treatment around the globe.

Global health is an adventure

You can imagine that qualified doctors, nurses and midwives with a sound knowledge of global health are sought after in every country in the world. Depending on your individual passions and skills, you could find yourself working in foreign aid, assessing the health needs of migrant families, or helping to deliver basic sexual health education to communities where HIV/AIDS is common. If you’re looking for a healthcare challenge with huge travel potential, this really is it!

Global health is employable

Whether or not you choose to use your health skills ‘in the field’ or in a doctor’s office in the suburbs, knowledge is power. What can often prove equally as beneficial as your global health knowledge is the set of skills and personality traits you pick up from learning about other cultures: compassion, understanding, and tolerance. No amount of training can teach you to truly care for those you are treating – once you feel that, you will find your perfect position in no time.