Davos Dispatch: Creating equal opportunities for everyone

I have been in Malawi this week – a long way from Davos. Meeting and working with the communities we serve at Seed Global Health over the past few days served as a vivid reminder that everyone is born with the same potential but, unfortunately, not with the same opportunity.

I have seen firsthand the impact of unequal opportunity on individuals, communities, and countries. At Seed, we believe everyone should have an equal ability to access high-quality healthcare, regardless of where they are born or their socioeconomic background – something that I hope was on the agenda at WEF. Because without more health care workers, we will never be able to provide that opportunity to all.

Seed Global Health aims to close existing gaps in our health workforce by training physicians, nurses and midwives to help care for their local communities, and ensure a pipeline of health professionals for years to come. When a population has improved opportunity to access quality care, it is not just health that improves. Economic stability and social cohesion are built on a foundation of health. When people live longer, healthier lives, GDP can increase by up to 4% for each year of additional longevity, and families and communities begin to emerge from poverty as their ability to work, earn income, and participate in their communities grows. Better health is linked to increased political stability and security, and with improved access to care, we are better able to avoid the peril of epidemics such as Ebola and antibiotic resistance.

Through our work at Seed Global Health, we have seen women live through operations that once would have been a death sentence, but now are survivable when guided by trained clinicians we’ve helped teach. We have seen nurses empowered to help advocate for their patients, beginning to turn the corner from an era in which nurses have too often been told to keep quiet and defer to others. And we have seen more than 13,700 Seed-trained doctors, nurses and midwives grow into skilled practitioners, confident leaders, and trusted community partners across five countries in Africa over the last four years. We are investing in this generation and the next generation of health professionals – and in doing so, we are investing in opportunity for the patients and communities they serve.

I am reminded daily that we are all motivated by similar things. We all want personal security, to provide a roof and food for our families, and to give them health and every opportunity possible. We all want our children to be happy, healthy, and to strive for lives better than our own. We all want to problem solve and, together, to build a better future for our communities and our countries.

And so we see Seed’s work not just as our contribution to health, but our contribution to a global community: one where opportunity is limited not by an individual’s access to health, but rather limited only by how big they can dream.