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World Health Day: navigating international health communications

April 9, 2024

Each year, World Health Day, supported by the World Health Organization, encompasses the universal challenges, solutions, and innovations facing modern healthcare systems and patient communities. This year, World Health Day was recognised on 7 April and focused on the theme of “My Health, My Right”. Undeniably, health is the one commodity that never depreciates in value, only becoming more cherished as we, and our loved ones, age.

According to a 2023 report, less than a third of countries have improved health service coverage and reduced catastrophic out-of-pocket health spending over the past two decades. As of 2021, an estimated 4.5 billion people, around half the global population, were not fully covered by essential health services.

Three tips for international health communications

From an agency perspective, understanding how we can amplify our impact across several disease states, healthcare systems, and ultimately global markets, is a duty of care we undertake as communicators on behalf of our clients.

In a recent panel discussion with Emerson College’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), I was asked about challenges I had to overcome by joining the Global Health sector at FINN Partners.

  1. Adaptability

My first thought was adaptability, and the immeasurable impact this has on every aspect of my team’s accounts. I have witnessed my own perception of healthcare shift, from navigating the medical, legal, and regulatory processes of the U.S. health environment, to understanding the organisational structure of the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. Learning to adapt your communication style for various global markets and demographics is vital in this branch of PR.

  1. Ethics and transparency

The second most important asset to master is understanding the highly sensitive nature of this sector, and the absolute importance of authentic, transparent, and patient-centric storytelling. Whether you are entrusted with patients’ most celebrated or vulnerable milestones, each opportunity to share their story is a privilege none of us can overlook. Acting ethically comes first and foremost, and now more than ever the right to fair, accessible, and unbiased healthcare is paramount.

  1. Message translation

Finally, learning to translate healthcare equity for international audiences, specifically across global markets in the U.S, UK, and Europe in my case, has become an incredibly useful tool for working cross-collaboratively with FINN’s international teams and client base. For instance, our work with The Galien Foundation, who recognise and award medical innovation across the life sciences industries globally, currently spans several international award ceremonies, including the Prix Galien USA, Prix Galien India, and the upcoming 2024 Prix Galien UK in May.

Final thoughts this World Health Day

World Health Day is a thoughtful reminder that seeking better healthcare goes beyond the scope of ourselves. Collaborating internally with a diverse network of offices and teams continuously challenges our notions of healthcare literacy and how we communicate effectively in a globalised industry. By understanding that our health and rights are part of a wider ecosystem, we can all strive to benefit our local, national, and international communities.

Explore the healthcare communications services offered at FINN Partners, here.

TAGS: Health

POSTED BY: Shifra Power

Shifra Power