UD's Rob Palkovitz attended a six-day summit in Salzburg, Austria, designed to improve health care around the world.

Better health care

Salzburg conference strives to improve health care around the world

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8:21 a.m., May 8, 2012--A six-day summit held in Salzburg, Austria, was designed to improve health care around the world through increased application of quality improvement methodologies. 

 The Salzburg Global Seminar on “Making Health Care Better in Low and Middle Income Countries” invited representatives from 33 countries to address the critical gap between knowledge of interventions that improve population health and the care actually provided to patients.  The purpose was to drive the quality improvement and patient safety agenda forward.  

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Rob Palkovitz, professor of human development and family studies at the University of Delaware and a Salzburg Global Fellow, attended the summit held April 22-27.

“The summit was very beneficial -- providing focused discussions of the interacting systems that influence the quality of health in developing nations,” explained Palkovitz. 

The collaborative efforts of participants resulted in the drafting of the Salzburg Statement on "How to Make Health Care Better in Low and Middle Income Countries: A Call to Action." The statement will be presented at the World Health Assembly.

The statement urges international, regional and national stakeholders (governments, health policy leaders, communities, development partners, non-governmental organizations, health care workers and patients) to promote improvement in the quality of health for the world’s populations and to assure their health, survival and well-being now and for future generations.  

The statement includes the following recommendations, calling on

  • Health care workers to continuously improve the delivery of expert and compassionate care to patients, their families and communities;
  • Governments to be accountable for the improvement of health care through legislation, policies and necessary resources;
  • Health policy leaders to adopt and promote quality improvement as a cornerstone of better health for all;
  • Communities to actively advocate for quality health care as part of their rights and responsibilities;
  • Development partners to invest in approaches that drive sustainable context-specific improvements in global health;
  • Non-governmental organizations and those providing technical assistance in global health to incorporate evidence-based improvement methods in their work; and 
  • Patients to be empowered and at the forefront of promoting a shared vision for better health for all. 

“It was extremely encouraging to experience the cooperation across so many countries and contexts of health care provision.  We all had one goal in mind -- to improve health care for every patient every time they require care,” said Palkovitz.   “With this document it is anticipated that Salzburg Fellows will be helping to focus attention around the world and drive change towards making health care better by spreading it far and wide to decision makers and opinion leaders in the 33 countries represented at the summit, and beyond.”

About the Salzburg Global Seminar

The Salzburg Global Seminar convenes imaginative thinkers from different cultures and institutions, organizes problem-focused initiatives, supports leadership development, and engages opinion-makers through active communication networks, all in partnership with leading institutions from around the world and across different sectors of society. The April seminar "Making Health Care Better in Low and Middle Income Economies" was the fourth in a series.

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