The number of people around the world living in extreme poverty has more than halved in the last 20 years. Life expectancy is increasing around the world. Two billion more people have access to safe drinking water and the march of global infectious diseases such as HIV and malaria are finally in retreat.
But there are also concerning trends. Too many people are unable to meet their most basic health needs. Every day 800 women die due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth and more than six million children under five die every year, many from preventable disease. Huge gaps in health outcomes exist right across our region; gaps in access to healthy foods, clean air and water as well as access to clinics and medicines. These burdens of disease affect the extent to which each person in our region can flourish as a member of their family and community.
We believe that taking action on global health inequities is important. We believe that it’s important not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because the health and wellbeing of communities in our region affects us all. The rapid spread of global infectious disease such as pandemic influenza demonstrates just how quickly we are all affected by the health of populations beyond our borders. And health itself is required to foster the human development that stands to improve the stability, peace and security of our region. A globalised world requires that we consider the health of those beyond our borders as our own. Global health is important, now more than ever.
Global Ideas believes that each one of us has a part to play in taking action for better health for all, and therefore has created an interdisciplinary community of global health innovators.
By reaching out to globally minded citizens both within and beyond health to include entrepreneurs, engineers, designers and anyone with a passion for better health for all, we can think differently about creating the change that communities in our region themselves desire.
What unites our community is a desire to see better health for all and a belief in the power of interdisciplinary collaboration to foster innovation.
Everything we do at Global Ideas is based on our beliefs, that:
- Everyone regardless of their skills or experience can take action for healthier lives
- Adaptive solutions are required to address health problems in our changing world
- A collaborative approach to problem solving produces more innovative solutions
To achieve our goals, we have adopted a design thinking approach to think more creatively about how we develop responses to global health challenges. Such an approach starts with framing “How Might We…?” questions, gathering understanding and insights about the needs of the people most affected and then thinking broadly about the range of solutions that could meet those needs. However the strength of the design thinking approach is not the ideas themselves, but the capacity to create prototype solutions to test assumptions, and where a solution shows promise, to iterate, evolve and scale. Adopting design thinking is our way to step back and develop the capacity to creatively solve global health challenges by mastering the process of problem solving that bridges ideas to action through diverse collaboration. In this way, Global Ideas helps communities in our region make practical improvements to their own health.
So often we’re faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles to creating the kind of change we want to see in the world, but as Margaret Mead has said; “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” The scale of problems we face can be overwhelming, and complex factors often get in the way of creating real change for the people who desire it most. It’s hard to know where to start and what tools we can draw upon. I hope that by growing a diverse community of global health innovators, that we’ll together build the skills and networks required to catalyse action for healthier communities, healthier lives and a healthier planet.
This is our invitation to join Global Ideas in building an active and engaged community of global health leaders. Your involvement can be the catalyst to enact real, lasting solutions on our quest to improve the health of our region.
Co-founder & Chair, Global Ideas.