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Your Action Plan to Improve Global Health in 2018

It is mid-January, the time of year when the sheen has begun to wear off many of our New Year’s resolutions. While the “Bomb Cyclone” may have put a damper on your pledge to run every day, and a return to the workday grind may have undermined efforts to sleep more or meditate for 10 minutes daily, there is one pledge we hope that you will not back away from—the promise to do more to improve global health in 2018.

A report released last month by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank found that more than half of the world’s population still does not have full coverage of all essential health services. Gaps in coverage affect everything from the diagnosis and treatment of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), to access to family planning services, to vaccinations for infants and young children.

Together, through partnership, we can improve the quality and availability of care. However, at first glance, this lofty goal appears daunting, to say the least. Below is a list of five actions you can take right now to contribute to the collective effort to improve global health.

1. Volunteer

“I think a lot of doctors believe they’re going to volunteer when they are older or retired. I didn’t want to wait till then,” HVO volunteer Divya Singh, MD explained in a recent AAOS Now article highlighting her efforts to improve global orthopaedic care.

Dr. Singh, a hand surgeon, has been volunteering internationally for over a decade. She urges fellow health care providers who have been considering volunteering overseas to take the leap. The knowledge you share with your international colleagues during an HVO assignment will in turn be shared with other local providers and those in-training, creating a legacy of care that will benefit patients for years to come. You can view a list of current opportunities and apply today on the HVO website.

2. Donate

For those who are not health professionals or are unable to complete a volunteer assignment, a small gift goes a long way toward supporting HVO volunteers and trainees, and improving global health. A gift of $25 will print teaching materials for a class of nursing students, $50 will purchase medical exam supplies for medical students to learn basic skills, and $100 will cover the cost of a reference textbook that will be used by students now and in the future.A gift of any amount will be used to create access to education and professional development opportunities for health workers in resource-scarce countries. With your support, these health workers will be empowered to provide more and better care to their communities.

3. Stay Informed

The global health landscape is constantly shifting and evolving in response to changes in health demographics, technological advances, and new and emerging threats to health security. Staying on top of the latest developments in the global health sector is crucial to recognizing and reacting to changes in real-time—whether that means an organization expanding into a new program area or an individual donor rethinking the allocation of funds. Our list of five organizations to follow to keep up with global health news is as relevant today as it was when we first shared it in 2017.

4. Support Your Colleagues

“I find that the HVO Golden Apple Award is particularly meaningful to recipients because they know they were nominated by one of their peers … I always make sure to let honorees know who nominated them because I believe this adds an extra layer of meaning to the award.”

HVO Executive Director Nancy Kelly, MHS, wrote about the special significance of HVO’s Golden Apple Awards in a recent blog post. Nominating a colleague to receive a Golden Apple Award is an opportunity to give back by recognizing an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the HVO mission. Whether you nominate a fellow volunteer, or a local leader at an HVO project site, your support is invaluable to your colleagues and will lift their spirits as they strive to overcome barriers to improving global health outcomes. Nominations for the 2018 awards are being accepted through close of business Friday, February 23.

5. Support Your Favorite Organizations

“Friend-raising” is another way you can show your support for HVO and other organizations dedicated to improving global health. When you share the story of HVO’s mission and impact with your friends, family and colleagues you help build our global network of volunteers, donors and supporters. This dedicated community makes the work we do possible, so please help us spread the word! Our “friend-raising” tool kit has tips for sharing HVO with your network via email or phone, or on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and Instagram. Thank you for your support!

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