A Career in Global Health
No country acting alone can adequately protect the health of its citizens or significantly ameliorate the deep problems of poor health in developing countries. Intensified by an increased cross-border and transborder flow of people, goods and services, the spread of disease, the importation of consumer goods and the migration of health professionals cannot be adequately controlled by states in isolation. They all depend on international cooperation and assistance. Furthermore, the governance of global health is changing rapidly, responding to a multi-faced landscape. The management of this field has a pivotal impact on a range of other issues, such as security, migration, foreign policy, public health and environmental concerns. Together with the ever-present challenges that old and new infectious diseases pose to developing countries, health conditions commonly found in wealthier nations—including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, chronic lung diseases —are increasingly prevalent in low- and middle-income countries.
There are many challenges in international health governance, but a career in this growing field can provide a wonderfully rewarding path for any international relations enthusiast. Below you will find a list of multinational institutions, foundations and intergovernmental organisations that make the perfect stepping stone to pursue a path in this fundamentally meaningful field.
WHO is a leading health body of the United Nations. The institution provides leadership on global health matters, shapes health research, sets norms and standards, provides technical support to countries, and monitors and assesses health trends. As a governing body, WHO defines health as a shared responsibility, involving equitable access to essential care and collective defense against transnational threats.
Unitaid promotes international drug purchase facility established to reduced prices of drugs and diagnostics in poor countries, specifically in the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. The institution achieved 40 percent price reduction on antiretroviral treatment for 100,000 AIDS-infected children and helps fund treatment for 150,000 children with tuberculosis.
ICRC is an independent and neutral humanitarian organisation mandated under international law to take impartial action for prisoners, the wounded and sick, and civilians affected by conflict.
Save the Children is an independent organisation providing relief and support for children in developing countries. The charity coordinates emergency efforts to help ensure global childhood health and has mandates that include a large focus on maternal health.
Oxfam International is a non-governmental organisation that works to alleviate human poverty and injustice. Health initiatives focus on making visits to local clinics and hospitals, providing access to medicine, supporting affordable care in refugee villages and emergency situations, encouraging developing countries to invest in health services, and working to train and support home-based volunteers to enable them to care for those with HIV/AIDS.
CARE is a humanitarian organisation that campaigns against global poverty. CARE focuses on addressing three primary areas: health, children, and hunger. It also focuses on education, HIV/AIDS, and emergency relief and preparedness.
Project Hope is a humanitarian organisation working toward establishing long-term sustainable health care around the world, targeting infectious diseases, most notably tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. The organisation also provides emergency disaster assistance.
A humanitarian organisation, MSF International supports doctors and other healthcare personnel in providing emergency treatment for people in crisis. It advocates for the poor and sick in developing countries. One of their most popular campaigns includes the ‘Responsible for Access to Essential Medicine Campaign’ and the Cofounder of Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDI), which pushes for increased research for medicines and vaccines for diseases that affect people in poor countries.
An independent foundation, the Carter Center seeks to advance human well-being, working to provide health programs and treatment for afflictions that are preventable. The foundation also works to strengthen training of countries’ public health professionals and reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness.
The Global Fund is a 21st-century partnership organisation designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases. The Global Fund raises and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in countries and communities most in need.
Independent foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works to alleviate poverty and improve livelihoods. Global Health Program is one of three major initiatives, where it focuses on preventing disease through increased access to vaccinations and on developing and ensuring access to new health technologies.
IPPF is a non-profit family planning service, sexual health and abuse prevention training and education. Their goal includes giving clients necessary information to make informed sexual health decisions, promoting continuing sexual health, making available high quality sexual health services, improving the overall health of low income individuals, and using democratic organisation and the leadership of volunteers to promote these goals.
WFMH is an international membership organisation founded in 1948 to advance, among all peoples and nations, the prevention of mental and emotional disorders, the proper treatment and care of those with such disorders, and the promotion of mental health.
The Center for Reproductive Rights is a global legal advocacy organisation that seeks to advance reproductive rights. The organisation’s stated mission is to “use the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right that all governments are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill”.
Created in 2000, Gavi is an international organisation - a global Vaccine Alliance, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning youth.
PATH is an international, nonprofit global health organisation based in Seattle, with 1,600 employees in more than 70+ offices around the world. PATH focuses on five platforms—vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, devices, and system and service innovations—to develop innovations and implement solutions that save lives and improve health, especially among women and girls.