The 2014-2015 academic year of ISGlobal's Master of Global Health started on 3 October with a lecture by Marcel Tanner, Director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and President of ISGlobal's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee. In attendance were students from the ISGlobal–University of Barcelona (UB) Master of Global Health and from the ISGlobal-coordinated International Health Track of the UB's Master of Clinical Research.
In his talk, Prof Tanner examined several of today's ongoing health challenges. He highlighted the rapid occurrence of migratory movements as one of the main challenges faced by health professionals. Discussing the re-emergence of previously controlled diseases, he dismissed as simplistic the label of "neglected diseases", arguing instead that it is more accurate to speak of "neglected diseases, neglected health systems and, of course, neglected people".
Turning his attention to the current Ebola epidemic, Prof Tanner observed: "Right now, more children are dying of malaria than of Ebola, and complications affecting pregnant women are being neglected because healthcare facilities have been shut down. The Ebola crisis is not a problem of medicines or treatments; it is a problem of health systems."
Prof Tanner wrapped up his talk by giving the students in ISGlobal's master's programmes some advice based on his own experience, and he finished by noting that a career in global health requires a "non-negotiable commitment".