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Monday, 31 January, 2000, 10:13 GMT
Internet 'solution' to global health crises

internet Internet hope for global health


Efforts to tackle global health problems could be centred on the internet, says a health charity.

The Nuffield Trust says pooling global health knowledge through a series of dedicated websites - and setting up an internet-based charity to run them - could be part of the answer to tackling conditions such as flu, tuberculosis and Aids.



The internet can and must provide the vehicle to share healthcare expertise across the world from Buenos Aires to Birmingham
John Wyn Owen, Nuffield Trust
The internet-based charity would provide direct contact and assistance internationally on diseases responsible for killing millions of people world-wide each year.

John Wyn Owen, secretary of the trust, said: "Why should expertise be restricted to nation state boundaries? The internet can and must provide the vehicle to share healthcare expertise across the world from Buenos Aires to Birmingham."

Announcing a series of proposals on global health at a conference hosted by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in London, the trust urged UK health professionals to take a lead on the issue.

The conference, being addressed by minister of state Gisela Stuart, marks the culmination of a 12 month policy review by the Nuffield Trust.

Both the trust and the RCP stressed the need to mobilise UK health policy in response to global health issues.

International role

They proposed a number of initiatives at the same time as the internet proposal, including the launch of a UK Partnership for Global Health, an organisation to promote Britain's international role.

They also called for the creation of a Global Health Award to reward people committed to the field and want to see co-ordination of health aid and trade policies.

Mr Wyn Owen added: "Healthcare is the largest single industry in the world, but we too often only react to local health issues without seeing the broader opportunities and threats.

"It is clear that a new alliance is required to respond to the health issues created by today's global village."

Professor Sir George Alberti, president of the RCP, said: "The UK is uniquely positioned to take a leading role in developing global health partnerships, a role which will be crucial in the fight against the health risks posed by globalisation."

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