Rethinking the Global Health System

A recent paper from the Centre on Global Health Security, Chatham House identifies priority areas for reform as the global health architecture confronts emerging challenges in the post-2015 era.

  • Every country needs strong, resilient and equitable systems that enable all people to live healthy lives so the global health architecture needs to be rethought so it best supports the building of these systems.
  • A fundamental shift affecting global health is the ageing of the population and the associated increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Countries that are still battling infectious diseases are faced with a ‘double burden’ of disease that can overstretch already weak health systems.
  • The recent Ebola crisis in West Africa has shown the need for enhanced global disease surveillance and detection capacities, as well as improved international coordination in responding to emerging health threats.
  • Many low- and middle-income countries are projected to experience substantial economic growth over the next decade, enabling them to spend more on health. They need support to expand their health systems and increase public funding for poor and vulnerable populations – particularly women and children.
  • Global health funders must continue to address the challenges of poor populations and pockets of high disease burden in middle-income countries. Supporting fragile states more effectively will also be critical in the SDG era, as their populations are disproportionally affected by major health problems.
  • Expanding R&D financing and the range of incentives for investing in R&D is a priority area for action.
  • There is a need for stronger leadership in global health. Possibly a new organization – UN-HEALTH – which would bring together all UN agencies with health-related mandates. Alternatively, a UN Health Commission could be set up to improve coordination without the radical changes to the architecture required for a UN-HEALTH.

The full research paper on the chathamhouse.org website