By Philip Daniels, Health Education England Global Health Fellow
Over the next year I will be working within the Public Health England Global Health Team. Based in London and Freetown, I’ll be supporting the development of the Sierra Leone National Public Health Agency, working with colleagues from Sierra Leone, USA and China.
Being awarded a Health Education England Global Health Fellowship is an enormous privilege. It gives me the chance to work with colleagues from a diverse range of backgrounds, disciplines and nationalities. I’ll be blogging regularly to help me record what I see and learn.
It is an incredibly exciting time to be involved in Global Public Health. Issues such as pandemic disease, outbreaks such as Ebola and Zika, as well as the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and climate change are increasingly informing the UK’s approach to Public Health.
The UK is a signatory of both the International Health Regulations (2005) and the Sustainable Development Goals (2015) – the latter of which include an explicit commitment to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.
The UK Aid strategy (2015) restructured Overseas Development Aid (ODA), on which the UK spends 0.7% of its GDP, to ensure that it is spent on tackling the great global challenges. As part of this, the UK government has established:
- The Ross Fund, a £1 billion initiative to tackle the most dangerous infectious diseases such as Ebola, malaria, neglected tropical diseases and drug resistant infections
- A £500 million ODA crisis reserve to enable effective cross-government responses to crises as they happen
- A Global Challenges research fund of £1.5 billion over the next five years to ensure UK science takes a leading role in addressing the problems faced by developing countries – such as building resilience during emergencies and tackling AMR.
In addition, the government has committed to increasing UK climate finance for developing countries by at least 50%, to reduce emissions, increase access to energy, build resilience of the poorest and most vulnerable people, and to reduce deforestation.
All of this reflects an awareness that what happens internationally and globally affects health security in the UK. It’s also apparent that the expertise based in the UK has much to offer the rest of the world, as illustrated by PHE’s successful efforts to give public health and science a bigger role within the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk reduction (2015-2030).
Reflecting this, Public Health England and the Faculty of Public Health have published Global Health Strategy. It highlights not only the complexity of the problems faced, but also the enormous contribution that will be made in the coming years by UK Public Health. It is within this context that I begin my Global Health Fellowship.
It is set to be a challenging and rewarding year; I look forward to sharing it with you.