So, You Want to Learn About Global Health? Here is Where to Start

Our very own Alanna Shaikh has a new e-book: What’s Killing Us: A Practical Guide to Understanding Our Biggest Global Health Problems. The book is published by TED (as in, the TED Talks) and it is…great!

What’s Killing Us is a breezy introduction to global health, broken down by 10 topics that are driving the global health discussion today. This includes: Pandemic Influenza, Chronic and Non-Communicable Diseases, Neglected Tropical Diseases, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Weak Health Care Systems, Child Mortality, Motherhood, The End of Antibiotics, and Climate Change.  Each chapter follows the same pattern. Alanna explains the basics of the issue (like, trends in HIV/AIDS over the past 20 years, the three scariest strains of flu since 1978, some tropical diseases you’ve probably never heard of);  pivots into an argument about “why we should worry” about these issues; and finally offer some sensible policy recommendations to address each of these challenges, under the rubric “What we can do.”

Each chapter is short.  This book is very much intended to be a basic introduction to these topics. Think of it as Cliffs Notes’ guide to global health, or a fun-to-read executive summary of the top global health challenges facing humanity. As regular UN Dispatch readers know, Alana has a knack for explaining complex global health issues in a language accessible to non-experts. That literary style very much shines in this e-book.

Global health is a booming field. Over the past decade, there has been a marked increase in attention to finding solutions to some of the most vexing global health challenges. There are more resources dedicated to global health issues today than at any other time in human history: The Gates Foundation, the Global Fund, PEPFAR and other programs are pushing back against AIDS, broken health systems, maternal mortality and other challenges. There’s a burst of innovation and creativity (and funding) in global health that is exiting for me, as an observer, to watch and write about. 

What’s Killing Us is for people who want to know what all the fuss is all about. If you want to get into global health and need a place to start, look no further than this excellent e-book.