We often think of local hospitals as providing assistance only in our general area. Local hospitals provide services to people in the surrounding area, but many also support medical care on a global scale. There are many reasons why a local hospital administrator should view their job globally. A global perspective will help them understand how they can help promote healthy lives around the world.
In many countries, indigenous people suffer from poor health and are more likely to experience disability. This leads many of them to die at much younger ages. Women experience more health problems than men in third-world countries. These countries are also often affected greatly by natural disasters and armed conflicts. They are also often denied access to education, economic resources and land or property. In developing countries, 80 percent of the population relies on traditional methods of healing. These incorporate plant, animal or mineral-based medication and spiritual therapies, and are much less effective than modern medicine.
Hospital Organizations Dedicated to Assistance
There are several organizations dedicated to promoting health among indigenous people. Local hospital administrators could get involved in these groups in an effort to promote health on a global scale. Some of these groups include:
- International Group on Indigenous Health Measurement – collects, analyses and disseminates information on health to indigenous populations. Focuses on Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.
- Health of Indigenous Peoples Initiative – encourages recognition, respect and an understanding of cultural differences based on knowledge and resource differences. The group tries to improve health strategies by incorporating modern methods with traditional methods.
- Sightsavers – promotes eye health in communities as 80 percent of all blindness could be prevented or cured.
- Barefoot Doctors Program – trains doctors in indigenous communities on basic health care practices.
Promotion in Local Community
Every local community has pockets of immigrant populations. Furthermore, many of these consist of people from the countries with the highest illness rates and the worst healthcare. In addition, some of these immigrants may still believe in traditional or tribal medicine. This is even used sometimes to treat illnesses that need serious medical intervention. Often in these cases, by these people arrive at a local hospital the disease has progressed significantly. This increases medical costs and reduces the chances of a positive patient outcome.
Local administrators should set up educational programs designed for immigrant communities in an effort to promote more modern medical techniques. The population may be resistant to using new methods without continuing to use their traditional treatments, therefore they should not be discarded outright. In most cases, the education also needs to be taken into the community as immigrants may be reluctant to come to the hospital or a location outside their community to receive the information.
These are just a few of the ways that hospital administrators can promote global health. Global health is critical in today’s mobile society. Infectious diseases are more easily spread today as people can travel throughout the world more freely than they could in previous generations. By addressing health issues on a global scale, the risk of disease can be reduced not only in other countries but in the United States as well. If you’re not currently involved in the world of healthcare, pursuing an MPA degree or something similar can be a first step for you to get involved in this effort as well.