PMI Atlanta Healthcare Forum enjoyed an informative and interactive presentation on Globalization delivered by Dr. Senait Kebede.
Dr. Kebede is the Founder and President of International Health Consultancy (ICH). She brings over 15 years of experience in clinical and public health practice. She works with interaction and bilateral organizations including World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, UNAIDS, World Bank, CDC, and USAID with a focus on Maternal and child health, HIV/TB, Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (DSR) and quality of care. She received her MD from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, with a speciality in paediatrics and an MPH from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a Gates Strategic Leadership fellow for Reproductive Health, JHU and certified (PMI) in Project Management.
Dr. Kebede began her presentation overviewing the outcomes of Globalization, highlighting global health issues, perspectives, challenges, and opportunities with a focus on Africa. She went on to state many countries benefited from globalization – Africa was not one of them. She expounded upon the contrast of Africa, Latin America, and East Asia with the discontents of growing poverty, unemployment, crime, and growth going to upper income groups. She referenced back to Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz’s, “Globalization and its Discontents” as well as that of “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman to support her opening comments.
Dr. Kebede shared with the attendees that much was done to protect investors but not so much the environment in developing countries. Most of the projected benefits accrued to rich countries. For example, 70% of gains went to developed countries and 48 of the least developed countries were actually left worse off. Globalization had also led to unbalanced intellectual property rights making access to life saving medicines more difficult.
In 2005, UNAIDs sought to come up with a resolution to combat these disparities to ensure there was some social justice in bringing access to care. Dr. Kebede discussed how she was the coordinator for an initiative called 3 by 5, which was introduced to treat 3 million people by 2005 in Africa. Her responsibilities included partnering with other countries, deploying resources, hiring consultants, and conducting needs assessments. This required a focus on project management to help drive great results. Dr. Kebede said that results between 2002 -2006, in every continent, there was a remarkable increase in the number of people that were treated by anti-viral medicine. Displaying noticeable physical results, she backed her comment with a patient’s “before and after” picture whom was able to get access to the treatment. Dr. Kebede also shared other positive results in child mortality for Rwanda. It had its steepest fall in child mortality ever recorded from 1995 to 2011.
Dr. Kebede went on to petition why we should be involved in Global Health. Her reasoning included the following:
- Health matters to everyone, not just to those living in developing countries
- The return on invest in health is 9:1.
- One extra year of population life expectancy raises GDP per capita by 4%.
Dr. Kebede concluded with emphasizing that we should focus on building and strengthening institutions and systems – political, diplomatic and people skills for better leadership and governance.
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