I also met with school children at Urumqi Dengcaogou Boarding School, which is situated in a rural area outside of the provincial capital. The students were proud to be able to bring their new healthcare knowledge back to their families. They told me how they had told their parents to quit smoking after learning about the consequences of the habit on health.
These children join more than 500,000 others in Xinjiang who have participated in the educational component of Health Express. By targeting schools as hubs for healthcare education and shaping students into health ambassadors for their families and friends, we can reach an even greater number of people in Xinjiang’s nomadic communities.
Xinjiang means “new frontier,” and right now, we are at the edge of a new frontier in delivering sustainable healthcare solutions to communities where limited resources and infrastructure constrain access to healthcare. These multidimensional, scalable interventions help to bridge the gaps in developing regions.
However, neither corporations nor governments can do it alone. They need to work together to achieve the best possible outcome. We must also abandon the idea of a one-size-fits-all model for expanding access to healthcare and adjust our approaches to ensure the best fit with local health priorities and customs. With education and prevention, capacity-building and new kinds of partnerships, we can continue to improve access to healthcare in Xinjiang and beyond, boosting well-being throughout the developing world.
Joseph Jimenez is chief executive officer of Novartis.
Copyright: Project Syndicate