Impacting the Next 100 Years of Global Health
One of the major components of The Rockefeller Foundation’s “Dreaming the Future of Health” convening will be the consideration and discussion of the macro, health-related trends that will shape our world over the next 100 years. In advance of the convening, The Rockefeller Foundation asked select attendees and other experts to identify ten trends that may dominate the global landscape into the future. This list is the result of that “crowd-sourcing” exercise. We invite you to take a look and scroll down to share your thoughts with the Foundation.
- Climate Change and Disasters.
- The future will include increased frequency and severity of climate-related shocks, disasters and pandemics (likely with zoonotic origins). What needs to be done to better understand the health impacts of climate variability and build more resilient social and health systems to be prepared, respond and adapt?
- The Demographic Revolution.
- According to the UN, the population aged 60 years or older is estimated to be nearly 2 billion by 2050 when it will be as large as the population of children age 0-14. With this shift, there will be accompanying changes in disease patterns such as growth in non-communicable diseases and associated risk factors. What actions are needed in the context of these epidemiologic and demographic shifts? How will we address aging populations, changes in the socioeconomic composition of societies (will the middle class grow or the proportion of those at the Bottom of the Pyramid persist or expand?) and an estimated world population of 10 billion by the year 2100?
- The rise of mega cities.
- More than 50% of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas and this is expected to increase to 70% by 2050. According to the WHO, the majority of this urban population growth will occur in cities of developing countries. How can cities develop to ensure the health of all residents
- Social and economic development converge.
- The relationship among the state, citizens and business is increasingly dynamic and systems are changing. The correlation between social and economic development has been reflected in the inclusion of health in development policies and in other intersectoral approaches to health. What mechanisms will promote the convergence of national and international social policies to improve governance and solidarity and decrease economic, social and health inequities?
- Frontiers of public sector reform.
- In the future, there will be increased interaction by and amongst institutions in various sectors as well as heightened informality within global labor. Silos will be broken down leading to a deeper complexity of mixed (public and private) systems – particularly in the health and education sectors. What will be the health effects of this complexity and lack of appropriate regulatory structures? What interventions will be needed to mitigate risks and work effectively within both formal and informal systems to prevent increasing inequalities?
- Our Social Future.
- Individuals’ connectivity and access to vast information will continue to explode. Changes in the access to information and modes of communication will continue to empower citizens yet also raise major privacy concerns along with concerns of growing social isolation and exclusion. What are the new governance structures needed where the community’s health interests and expectations are explicitly represented? What effects will this complexity have on health? How can we take advantage of the benefits of increased connectivity while mitigating its risks?
- The Budget Crunch.
- What will countries and governments look like in the next century, and what do possible changes in governance mean for health? In the shorter term, how will leaders develop sound health policies in a time of austerity and limited financial resources? How can the perspectives of local communities be included?
- Technology Races Ahead.
- For example, nanotechnology may become more important than immunizations in preventing and curing disease. Health technology and real time information access offers many opportunities for treatment and prevention of disease as well as health promotion. Communication technologies will also continue to change the ways in which individuals engage with the health system and could reduce the need for hospitalization. What are the challenges and opportunities in scaling up existing interventions to take advantage of the game changing advances in science and technology that are certain to occur? How might access to information change patterns of individual self-treatment?
- Game-changing advances in science.
- Advances in scientific research, and medical science more specifically, will continue to transform the health care landscape. What will be the ground-breaking discoveries in fields of biology, immunology, virology, zoology and related fields such as ecology that will impact health for the next 100 years? What are the critical questions and threats that these fields must address to ensure well-being in the future?
- New ways of learning.
- Massive open, online courses offer new opportunities for scalable, sustainable and profitable forms of training and education. How will new technologies transform the accessibility and effectiveness of higher education and training for future health professionals and leaders?