Governments across the world face the constant challenge of ensuring their population has access to quality care and life-saving treatments.
Dr Kalipso Chalkidou understands these challenges. As director of NICE International she and her team has advised policy-makers from low and middle income countries on improving their healthcare systems.
“Accessing good healthcare for you and your family is a universal worry,” said Dr Chalkidou. “This is the main concern of the people I speak to - from taxi drivers to politicians - wherever I’ve travelled, whether it be Siberia, Vietnam or South Africa.”
A health system free at the point of care, like the UK’s NHS, is the goal of most nations.
– Dr Kalipso Chalkidou
International Decisions Support Initiative
The team at NICE International is this month moving to the Institute for Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London, where they will form the Global Health and Development team.
From their new home at Imperial they will continue to lead their flagship programme funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Department for International Development, called the International Decisions Support Initiative.
NICE International was established as a not-for-profit offshoot of UK body the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). This analyses the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of medicines, devices and treatments, and then issues guidance to NHS professionals.
Dr Chalkidou, who trained as a clinician before moving into health policy said: “We started almost by accident eight years ago. International governments had heard of NICE, and called us for advice on structuring their country’s health system. We were soon inundated with requests from across the world, with many questions on the logistics of delivering care to patients, as well as the workings of the NHS.
She added: "Moving to Imperial is incredibly exciting – not only will we be able to collaborate with experts across the College, but we can also build our resources,” she added.
Dr Chalkidou explained: “A health system free at the point of care, like the UK’s NHS, is the goal of most nations. But many low and middle income countries lack the resources. We therefore work with them to formulate the most effective and ethical system, within limits of the nation’s finances. For instance, South Africa recently announced universal healthcare will available within 10 years. We are working with the Government to implement this.”
Professor the Lord Ara Darzi of Denham, Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation, said the International Decisions Support Initiative will be a great asset to Imperial: “The move is a significant opportunity to build on the enormous global impact the team have fostered over the last eight years, and to drive this forward at Imperial. Placing the team’s unique expertise within a world-class academic setting will provide new avenues for collaboration and partnership with international funding bodies and governments. We are confident Kalipso and her team will enhance their already impressive capabilities and respected role in the field of global health.”
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