The global health committee of IFMSA-Québec (SCOGH, Standing Committee on Global Health) aims to gather all medical students from Québec who are interested by health issues happening around the world and who are willing to participate in awareness activities and prevention campaign related to this theme.
The members of the SCOGH share the mission of raising awareness amongst future healthcare practioners and the general population about the different aspects and challenges of global health, as well as health inequalities. They should encourage people to take actions, both local and global. They also contribute to the global health related discussion by attending conferences for instance. Finally, the global health comittee tries to influence politics who are involved, hoping to create a world that is more just, where access to healthcare is a reality for all.
What does global health mean?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as « a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity ». If we add to that the international dimension, we can better define global health as the problems and preoccupations related to health that transcend the borders, who can also be influenced by circumstances and/or events in other countries and who are usually resolved by cooperation. Another definition regularly used is the following: area of study, of research and of practice who prioritizes the improvement of health and equity for all populations across the world. Finally, Beaglehole et Bonita, two devoted researchers particularly involved in global health, defined the term as follows: « Global health is collaborative trans-national research and action for promoting health for all ». Quickly put, global health sees health and the related problems as concepts that know no political or geographical boundaries and that unites us all.
Why talk about global health?
Global health is a diverse topic that serves as an umbrella for a lot of aspects able to influence population’s health. The SCOGH is focusing its efforts on issues like the social determinants of health, best defined by the WHO as « the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels ». The committee is also working really hard to educate people about the difference between the infectious diseases and the non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Over the year, conferences about global health politics, professional migration, emergency humanitarian aid are held as well as about the climate change, since it is a really direct way to influence populations’ health status. To conclude, the global health committee is there to talk about all those topics who are crucial to us, in the 21st century.