One WISH: Working together to improve health for all


Lord Darzi with other speakers at the opening of WISH 2018

Fourth World Innovation Summit for Health launches to tackle some of the world’s most pressing healthcare challenges.

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2018 has begun, uniting some 2,000 healthcare innovators, researchers and policy-makers to address the most pressing global healthcare challenges of today.

An initiative of the Qatar Foundation in partnership with Imperial’s Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI), the eagerly awaited two-day event brings in world-leading experts from more than 100 countries to share their knowledge and explore novel approaches to pervasive issues in healthcare. The event’s theme, “One”, emphasises the need to work together to find common goals that can improve health for all.

This year, the summit in Doha is focussing on nine topics in urgent need of innovation that span a diverse range of areas, from medicine and ethics to care during humanitarian crises. These forums include anxiety and depression, data science and artificial intelligence, and healthcare in conflict settings.

Internationally renowned researchers working within these fields draw in expertise to spread the best evidence-based information from their areas, producing a report that identifies achievable solutions that if implemented could bring about positive changes to healthcare globally.

For example, this year’s report on Anxiety and Depression stresses the importance of prevention initiatives while also making recommendations for increasing the provision of mental health services in a sustainable way.

“In our report, we’re going to look to clearly define the terms anxiety and depression, investigate the scale of the issue, and then look at what can we do to prevent anxiety and depression taking hold,” said Forum Chair Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of leading mental health charity Mind.

On top of these nine focus points, the event is an opportunity for innovators to showcase their bright ideas and products that they’ve designed to cut costs in healthcare and improve the patient experience. These include making skin grafts from the tilapia fish to treat severe burns, and a robot that helps deaf children improve their vocabulary through play.

As with previous years, WISH 2018 also brings together a high-calibre set of speakers and panellists. Keynote speakers this year include International Rescue Committee CEO and President, David Milliband, former President of Ireland and member of the ‘Elders’, Mary Robinson and world champion swimmer, Michael Phelps.

Professor the Lord Ara Darzi of Denham, Executive Chair of WISH and Director of IGHI, said: “Since its inception WISH has fast become a world-renowned platform for global healthcare leaders to disseminate the best new evidence-based, healthcare-focused ideas.

“We should be proud of what WISH has achieved so far and confident that our network of leaders continues to catalyse positive change through innovation in the global healthcare sector.”

WISH launched in 2013 and since then this global community has worked to capture and spread evidence-based content and practices in global healthcare, with the aim of influencing healthcare policy across the world.

You can find out more about previous WISH summits on the IGHI website.


Justine Alford

Justine Alford
Institute of Global Health Innovation

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