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BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d4969 (Published 03 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4969

Global Health 2011

BMJ Group and NICE International have joined forces to co-host a unique two day conference on policies for sustainable and effective healthcare. Taking place on 29 and 30 September 2011 at BMA House in London, Global Health 2011 will bring together experts from around the world to discuss and promote cost effective and evidence informed policy making as a means to improve health outcomes.

Global health has been defined as “An area for study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all worldwide” (Lancet 2009;373:1993-5). It is a huge endeavour, which no country or donor can hope to tackle alone. It must be multidisciplinary in the widest sense, encompassing not only clinical practice and public health but also economics, culture, and politics. It must go well beyond providing low and middle income countries with access to health technologies such as vaccines and retroviral drugs: these are important but they are not ends in themselves. They must be part of a journey towards developing healthcare systems that are ultimately self sustaining.

Low and middle income countries face a raft of common challenges: how to provide universal healthcare, how to manage publicly and privately funded healthcare, how to allocate finite resources, empower healthcare professionals, and integrate and improve the quality of clinical practice and public health.

Developed countries face similar challenges and are far from having all the answers. They can and must transfer vital knowhow that will support accountable and cost effective decisions. But they also have a lot to learn. America’s massive spending on healthcare—17% of gross domestic product, and forecast to rise to 20%, is recognised to be unsustainable. Rapid economic growth in China, India, and Brazil is lifting hundreds of millions out of dire poverty. What policies should these and other emerging countries pursue now that they can afford to spend 4-5% of GDP on healthcare? How can they maximise the public good from their growing economic resource without repeating the mistakes of the developed nations?

Global Health 2011 is your opportunity to hear and interact with an impressive array of influential speakers, including government ministers, funders, donors, and policy makers from both developed and developing countries. We hope it will be the first of what will become an annual event, contributing to building a healthier and more equitable world. For more information about the meeting and to register to attend, please go to http://globalhealth.bmj.com.

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Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4969