Closing the Gap: Tackling Global Health Challenges
April 18, 2014 | 3452 views
Building off the advance series collection of articles written by delegates and speakers of this year's Skoll World Forum, this section will feature live blogs and pieces from the event in Oxford. We will be covering a wide variety of sessions, panels and discussions on-site. View the live-stream on the homepage, and watch here for real-time articles all week! -- Each year at the Skoll World Forum, nearly 1,000 of the world’s most influential social entrepreneurs, key thought leaders and strategic partners gather at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School to exchange ideas, solutions and information. Learn more about the 2014 Skoll World Forum, sign up to our newsletter to be notified of the live stream, view the 2014 delegate roster and discover what themes and ideas we'll be covering this year at the event. Also, read about the seven recipients of this year's Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.
‘Closing the gap: tackling global health challenges’ was the final session I attended for the 2014 Skoll World Forum. It showed that important discussions happen here right up to the last moment. The session, led by Peggy Clark of the Aspen Institute, looked at why the critical issues of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health continue to be neglected, despite their importance and growing threat to populations.
Each year I am amazed by the inspirational people I meet here at the Skoll Forum. Social entrepreneurs who are taking on neglected problems or who create new solutions where old approaches have failed. I was given hope at the session by the fact that BasicNeeds, the National Institute of Mental Health and Partners In Health are bringing these greatly neglected issues to the world’s attention.
It is clear that people living in emerging economies are not currently being served when it comes to NCDs and mental health and countries will neglect them at their peril.
The discussion included approaches to treatment and prevention but one of the most important areas of agreement was that NCDs and mental health cannot become yet another health care silo. All issues need to be integrated with the health system of the nation.
And this increasing focus on looking at health in its broadest sense is one of the most important advances I have seen this week. In recent months Skoll Social Entrepreneurs working in the area of health have formed a group that has as its starting point the belief that health will only be improved when we look at better health, not just health care.
Improvements in health, whether they are NCDs and mental health like maternal and child health and other vital issues will only be improved when we look more broadly at economic status, water and sanitation, isolation and access to health systems.
Our group only flourished because of the space that the Skoll Foundation has given us. As social entrepreneurs we have models that influence the ways that health is seen and delivered. We are showing how money can be managed, and how ministries of health can be supported. We are demonstrating to governments, corporations and big institutions that social enterprise can slot effectively between the public and private sectors.
It means sessions like this one, where we address issues that we know will become huge problems, are not only attended by people from the health sector. The room was full of people who know that there is more to health than just health care, and that good health benefits every area of society.
The forum may be over for another year but thanks to Skoll the work we have started here will carry on long after we have left Oxford. Each year we talk about some of the most threatening problems, but it is the amazing people who come here each year who fill me with hope that we will make a lasting change.