Reimagining global health in the 21st century

– an imperative for new leaders for health
We, 500 new leaders for health research and innovation from the Philippines and around
the world, gathered at the New Leaders for Health Pre-Forum dedicated to the Global
Forum on Research and Innovation for Health (Forum 2015).

For two days, we have engaged in dynamic and inspiring discussions on how research and
innovation can solve today’s pressing global health problems. The transitions we are
witnessing in global health are great and unprecedented – from emerging infections and
the rise of non-communicable diseases, to climate change and environmental
degradation, to weak health systems and persistent inequities in health.

But we, New Leaders, do not shy away from these challenges. We acknowledge that, in
order to diagnose the root causes of ill health and prescribe their cures and solutions, we
need to reinvent our strategies and approaches, redesign health policies and systems, and
refashion society and the broader environment that ultimately shape human health
overall.

Indeed, reimagining global health in the 21st century is an imperative for us, New
Leaders for Health.

We are grateful that we were involved in the Pre-Forum, which we consider as the start
of our global health reimagining project. As our contribution to Forum 2015, we affirm
that:
• First, health research and innovation should, first and foremost, serve society, and
therefore social accountability must be upheld at both individual and institutional
levels;
• Second, investments for health research and innovation should be further
increased and devoted to addressing the world’s unmet needs, such as neglected
diseases of poverty, emerging infectious and non-communicable diseases, as well
as health systems strengthening and environmental health protection, among
others;
• And third, building domestic capacity of people and institutions for health research
and innovation, especially in low- and middle-income countries, should be a
national priority of governments, and supported by all stakeholders locally and
internationally.

Furthermore, we also affirm that health research and innovation should be geared
towards:
• One, ensuring that food is safe, available, accessible, affordable, nutritious, and of
high quality to prevent hunger, undernutrition, obesity, and other forms of noncommunicable disease;
• Two, building healthy megacities that protect people from preventable health
risks, provide equal opportunities, foster a clean environment, and promote health
equity, and;
• And three, protecting people from the health impacts of disasters by reducing
risks, providing effective response, ensuring full recovery and rehabilitation, and
building community resilience overall.

Because of our rich and transformative experience at the Pre-Forum, we, New Leaders
for Health, therefore commit that in our work in research and innovation for health, we
will:
• Ensure that science is relevant to the health needs of society, especially the poor
and underserved;
• Think globally and act locally, turning global knowledge into local solutions;
• Address health challenges as systems and not in siloes;
• Adopt a futures thinking approach, balancing short-term gains and longer-term
sustainability;
• Work across disciplines and with other sectors to address the social determinants
of health;
• Uphold the principles of social justice, human rights, and health equity, and;
• Put health in the hands of the people, ensuring the utmost participation of
communities in health research and innovation.

Finally, we acknowledge that change begins with oneself, and therefore we also commit
to:
• Be honest, accountable, and responsible for the research and innovation we do;
• Seek for opportunities for learning and mentorship so that we can develop
competence, credibility, and integrity;
• Actively participate in strengthening the domestic research architecture to provide
an enabling environment for emerging researchers and innovators;
• Join the growing movement towards health transformation, as we can only
improve global health not alone, but together.

Today, we are armed with new ideas, skills, and inspiration to reimagine global health
anew.
Today, we are ready to transform the world – to make equity in health a reality in our
generation.

This statement is endorsed by the delegates during the closing ceremony of the New Leaders for Health
Pre-Forum on August 24, 2015 at the Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City, Philippines.