The one thing I love the most about having chosen the Global Heath stream is the dynamism of it all. With a field that is still being defined as we speak and its boundaries so mosaic, most of what we learn is hot off the press and currently happening. We’ve even had the opportunity to hear from guest speakers straight from the field. Over the past few months, we’ve had three modules that are core to the Global Health stream:
1. Global Health Challenges
2. Global Health Governance
3. Global Health Innovations
In Term 1, Global Health Challenges involved hearing from those involved in tackling infectious diseases and chronic diseases about the burden of these problems to the world. Once the MPH Global Health cohort had become well acquainted with the challenges of Global Health, Term 2 gave us the opportunity to learn what was being done about these challenges. The module Global Health Governance was an overview of the multiple stakeholders involved in the dynamic global health sector – the governments, healthcare systems, the independent organisations, the pharmaceuticals and many more, as well the process with which these stakeholders work together internationally to strive to fulfil health needs. Yes, the sector is indeed really complicated and influenced by multiple determinants of a changing population’s needs, the stakeholders and the global economy. However, as MPH students, we are taught to stop and think and critically analyse the roles of these stakeholders, and pinpoint the gaps and the problems in these pathways that hinder global health progress. And then the eureka moment – learning about the best practices with which these gaps and problems are being tackled and the scope of these solutions.
Simultaneously, we had the Global Health Innovations module where we we learnt about the innovations in the global health fields that are kickstarting the race for solutions to tackle the challenges in the field. They covered a range of technological, social and political innovations. Usually, one tends to association ‘innovation’ with technology. But it is here where we realise that innovations transcend barriers of sectors – it is the concept of creating novel ideas that can with the potential to solve the problems in a cost-effective, efficient manner and it can build on not only the introduction of technology into interventions, but can also implement the use of social entrepreneurship, new policies and financial interventions. Once again, we had the opportunity to hear first-hand from guest speakers about these innovations that spanned several industries and the current progress of these innovations as part of solutions in global health.
It definitely has been an enthralling six months where we were challenged, taught how to critically think and question, and encouraged to think out of the box. And I walk away from the teaching component of my MPH with my head brimming with knowledge about the global health sector and fire to incorporate these learnings into the real world. Onwards to the projects and dissertations.