The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow recently published a report on global citizenship in Scottish healthcare. We asked the author, dr. Stuart Fergusson, how he feels about the Dutch global health doctor and the campaign ‘Into the World’.
‘’For many years, international medical work by high-income country health workers was perceived as worthy but not of any particular benefit to the ‘sending’ nation and has attracted little official support. The evidence base against this view is steadily accumulating. In May 2017, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow published a policy report on this matter. My co-author and I outline how engagement in global health challenges brings back personal, clinical, policy and organisational benefit to high-income countries. Our report favourably quotes the Dutch approach of offering bespoke global health training to equip young doctors for service in a developing world context. These global health doctors then often return to the Dutch health service where their enhanced skill set proves attractive to many other postgraduate training schemes.
It is morally correct for health workers from well-resourced health systems to stand together with counterparts in low and middle-income settings, who battle daunting health challenges with precious little resource. But there is also a compelling pragmatic argument. As recent infectious disease outbreaks have highlighted, the health and safety of our populations depend – at least in part – on the functionality of healthcare systems far from our own. Our health systems and our health workers will also gain resilience, fresh perspectives, and new experiences in thinking and acting globally.
I am delighted to support the ‘Into the World’ campaign for better recognition of the value of international work undertaken by Western health care workers in resource-deprived settings. We are one global village of interconnected and interdependent people who must work together to meet the health challenges of our time.’’
Mr Stuart J Fergusson
Specialty Registrar in General Surgery and Honorary Clinical Lecturer
“Global Citizenship in the Scottish Health Service: the value of international volunteering” is accessible here: rcp.sg/globalcitizenship