IAP for Health Conference "Roadmap for a healthier future"
Students in the audience
C. Padilla (Philippines)
On an increasingly crowded planet, fighting disease and providing for healthy lives to everyone is a global challenge that will test human ingenuity and generosity. But it is possible if we promote health diligently and take health threats seriously, said global leaders in healthcare and medicine at the InterAcademy Partnership for Health Conference 2016 in Beijing, China.
Human health is better now that it has ever been in human history, said Anthony Capon of the International Institute for Global Health at the United Nations University. But there are still global health problems such as neglected tropical diseases and non-communicable diseases – such as those typically faced by ageing populations. And global environmental challenges such as climate change will exacerbate these challenges.
”But there is a good news story,” Capon noted. “Action taken on climate change will also benefit health. Renewable energy means less toxic pollution. Human health and environmental health complement one another.”
Hosted by the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), the IAP for Health Conference 2016– on the theme of ‘Promoting Health’ – took place from 27-28 September at the Beijing Conference Centre. At the conference, global experts in medical research, medical practice, and healthcare systems discussed best practices, new concepts and the future of healthcare worldwide, including how the concept of ‘promoting health’ can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition, more than 300 representatives of China’s healthcare system, as well as students, attended.
The event also provided a platform for the launch the latest IAP for Health Statement, “A call for action to improve the reproducibility of biomedical research on 27 September.
China’s Vice Premier Liu Yandong delivered the conference’s keynote speech on 28 September, calling for the establishment of a global health governance system and for greater aid for public health research in developing countries. China and the world have an obligation to make sure that those living in poverty won’t remain in poverty because of diseases such as HIV and malaria, she affirmed.
“All these diseases are challenges to the health of humankind and the world,” said Liu. “The strongest weapon we have to fight all major diseases is innovation in medical science.”
Fifty years ago, the popular perception of infectious diseases among medical experts was that they would soon cease to be a threat. But that belief has proven very wrong, said US National Academy of Medicine Foreign Secretary Margaret Hamburg. Not only do mosquito-carried diseases plague much of the developing world, but outbreaks such as Ebola and Zika serve as a reminder of the power of infectious diseases to destroy lives and disrupt societies.
Hamburg called infectious diseases a security threat that has been neglected, and argued that global leadership must invest more in researching and preparing for them, and to do so with urgency. “We can’t let any of these wake up calls just be a wake-up call,” she said. “We need action; we need a global health risk framework.”