It is a Small World: Global Medical Education for the Twenty-first Century

Stephen J Atwood


Last year’s epidemic of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus in Asia and the present world-wide concern about the spread of the H5N1 avian flu virus has brought international health concerns to the front pages of national and international newspapers, newsmagazines, and health journals around the world. Add to this the global Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) epidemic, the global resurgence of tuberculosis (TB), and the disturbing increases in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it becomes difficult to imagine the compartmentalized world of even 30 years ago when diseases of different continents stayed in their place. Today, more than one million people cross international borders each day (not including refugees and displaced persons). Air transport guarantees a rapid transit of both person and pathogen well within the incubation period of many diseases. Body-heat detectors used recently at immigration points (e.g., Singapore and Hanoi) to detect febrile passengers are symbolic of the coarse screening attempts being used to control the movement of contagious diseases. 


global health; global medical education; UNICEF; United Nations Children's Fund; communicable disease

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