Rethinking Health Diplomacy: Driving Global Health Progress Using Diplomacy

February 27, 2020 - 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Daniel Ogbuabor, PhD
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This lecture reflects on differing conceptualization of health diplomacy by foreign policy and global health practitioners. Drawing from experiences across the globe, we critique the traditional hierarchy of foreign policy functions and argue that rethinking health diplomacy entails altering this traditional perspective of foreign policy functions. We present the Centre for Policy Impact in Global Health’s 3-gap in global health framework as opportunity for rethinking health diplomacy. First, a gap in global financing for crucial, neglected global public goods that benefit the poor especially in breaking the cycle of ‘panic and neglect’ in epidemic and pandemic preparedness but also in improving access to medicines and health technologies. Health diplomacy would be vital in making health aid ‘smarter’. Secondly, a “middle income gap” can arise when middle-income countries transition from health aid. Health diplomacy has potential to drive progress in an era of 4D transitions – diseases, demography, donor assistance and domestic resource mobilization. Thirdly, we argue that domestic health financing gap to fund universal health coverage in low- and middle-income countries presents ample opportunities for using diplomacy to drive global health progress. In concluding, we highlight a need for capacity-building in health diplomacy for both foreign policy and global health practitioners.

The Right Honorable Dr. Daniel Ogbuabor is a Nigerian physician, public health specialist, health economist, public administrator, parliamentarian, teacher and researcher.  He holds a PhD in Health Economics, Management and Policy. He is a senior lecturer, Department of Health Administration and Management, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus; as well as a Member, Enugu State Conflict Resolution Committee. As a Member of Parliament, he chaired House Committee on Health in Enugu State House of Assembly in Nigeria for 8 years. He was also technical specialist in Enugu’s Partnership for Transforming Health System; and Medical Advisor to German Leprosy and TB Relief Association in Nigeria. Moreover, he served as a Member of Governing Council of Institute of Management and Technology; and Chairman, Isi-Uzo District Health Board in Enugu State, Nigeria.  Dr Ogbuabor has 11 peer-reviewed journal articles and 15 conference papers. At Duke, Daniel’s research will compare Nigeria’s and India’s approaches towards universal health coverage. 

Dr. Ogbuabor is a 2020 Duke Global Health Institute Fellow. 

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  • Duke University Center for International and Global Studies
  • Rethinking Diplomacy