Public Health England held their annual conference over two days (16-17th September) and Fiona Reynolds attended. You may have followed some of her (@Fibigibi13) and our (@Peoplesuni) tweets over the course of the event. We'll be adding Fiona's notes to the Blog over the next couple of days. Tonight's focuses on "Global Health Question Time".Global Health Question Time  was one of the stand-out sessions of the conference in my opinion. Taking the format of a well-known British television show, this interactive panel discussion allowed some frank and passionate discussion around global health issues. This was a packed session.Chair:  Professor Anthony Kessel, Director of International Public Health, Public Health EnglandPanel members included:Sarah Boseley, Health Editor, The GuardianProfessor David Heymann, Chair, Public Health EnglandDr Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The LancetDr Gillian Mann, Senior Health Adviser for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, DFIDProfessor Sir Michael Marmot, Director, Institute of Health Equity, University College LondonTulip Mazumdar, Global Health Correspondent, BBC News Professor Hugh Montgomery, UCL Professor of Intensive Care Medicine; Director, UCL Institute for Human Health and Performance; Consultant Intensivist, Whittington Hospital; GLA London Leader The Public Health England (PHE) Global Health Strategy was launched over the weekend and I was keen to see if there would be much discussion around this. There are a number of shared objectives between this document and Peoples-uni's goal of Public Health capacity building in low-to-middle income countries. Opening comments on the key global health priorities came from Professor Sir Michael Marmot (who was one of the main speakers at thie event and there will be more on him in another posting) and Dr Richard Horton. Marmot said the Number One priority was material deprivation and this shaped the tone of the discussion - shifting it very firmly to a focus on ethics and morality. Horton added "We're on cusp of unique opportunity to prevent maternal/child mortality and deaths from communicable diseases, but we must not miss the opportunity to tackle non-communicable diseases". Marmot's moral scene-setting continued as the discussion shifted to the actions to respond to ebola with concern expressed about the need to strengthen an already weak health infrastructure. People are unable to access other services as the disease takes priority and what happens when the ebola crisis is over? Short term funding and attention will not support sustainable development. There were several questions from the floor concerning equity in the treatment of individuals from the West in comparison with people from the countries affected and also in regard to development of infrastructure. "What more could the UK do?" Richard Horton criticised the weak World Health Organisation response and said the UK needs to lead a response to support WHO. Another speaker added: "The UK response has included building a treatment centre in Freetown, including facilities to treat Health Care Workers if necessary. PHE has provided staff as well as facilities". (There will be more on the PHE response to ebola in still another posting). Paul Johnstone who is the Director of Public Health England for Northern England said: "Ebola is an embarrassing international failure and an embarrassing demonstration of health inequalities". This comment received substantial agreement from the audience with fears expressed that there is a danger that the ebola response consumes large resource for the immediate crisis, but no long term health gains. As the discussion moved to the impact of climate change on health, Marmot's and Horton's comments were bordering on fury as they again return to the issues of morality and fairness.Marmot on Climate change and equity: It's a 'battle between a "bit of an inconvenience in lifestyle changes" for those in the West against "life and death situations" in Sub-Saharan Africa.Horton: We haven't got our definition of sustainability right. Our economic model is wrong. We need a recalibration of the system. We don't recognise our interdependencies on eachother as a human family.On famine, Marmot said: "Famine is not a problem of food. It's a problem of society. Food security is a social issue. Famine doesn't occur in fair societies". Sarah Boseley commented at this point: "The media sees climate change as an environmental issue not a health issue. We need to communicate the risks and impact more effectively". She said, as far as journalists are concerned, climate change is about melting ice-caps and polar bears. As public health professionals we must talk about what climate change means for people and health. Marmot said that the effects of climate change must be dealt together with equity and equality issues. He concluded that the UK population must recognise its role and responsibility in global action to improve the lives and health of people around the world. The example he gave was the link between cheap clothes and sweat shop conditions in low-to-middle income countries - particularly the collapse of a garment factory. His closing remarks were on the need for us to ask ourselves: "Did my cheap shirt kill factory workers in Bangladesh?" It was a powerful discussion. The Global Health Strategy did not receive a great deal of conversation but the session included fiery and impassioned debate. There is a tremendous appetite to address global health. As one of our students commented: "If we work together, we can make a difference". The passion and the committment is there. Not only can we do this, we really should.PHE will be sharing the podcast and as soon as the link is made available we will share it here.The PHE Global Health Strategy is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-health-england-publishes-globa...

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