Skip to Global Health Institute Full Site Menu Skip to main content
Global Health Forum

Global Health Forum

February 10, 2020

Insights from Dr. Deus Bazira on his Experiences Advancing Global Health Equity Blog Post

On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, the Conversations in Global Health lecture series had the pleasure of hosting a discussion on improving health equity with Dr. Deus Bazira, the Co-Director of Georgetown's Center for Global Health Practice and Impact (CGHPI). Dr. Bazira shared an empowering story about his journey from Uganda to Washington, D.C. with an emphasis on regulating the quality standards for the delivery of health services and focusing on the people who are being affected daily by global health issues. Over the course of the evening, Dr. Bazira spoke about the trajectory his education and career took to lead him to where he is now: working to improve the health of vulnerable communities and achieve health equity internationally by understanding health care systems and its patients. 

Dr. Bazira has experience focused on the intersection of healthcare services and emerging economies of developing countries. Even though the initial education he received from Uganda helped him in promoting health equity, it had a drastically different focus. His background was in pharmacy, but he also had a desire to influence policy after his time engaging in politics as President of his university. Following his undergraduate education, Dr. Bazira went back to school two more times to learn about strategic management and economics with breaks in between to work in the military, Ministry of Health, and USAID. His education and work experience clearly indicates that Dr. Bazira wanted to create structural changes to institutions to make an impact rather than interacting with patients daily. 

For many developing countries, what we typically would consider to be “global health initiatives”, is viewed as basic healthcare. For this reason, Dr. Bazira emphasized that regardless of background, in order to make changes in global health, it is important to understand healthcare systems. Health systems and health promotion are not two distinct features of health care that should be treated differently. Rather, increasing access to quality healthcare is dependent on having a strong backbone for a good healthcare system. For example, using the HIV care system as a model for primary care throughout hospitals would help increase access. Additionally, Dr. Bazira began to speak about the role of the private health sector to deliver health services and underlined the importance of improving regulations with strong enforcement methods. Whether they are public or private interventions, sustainability of these interventions needs to be more cost effective and focused on individualized care for patients. 

Dr. Bazira was capable of having this knowledge and making successful changes due to his strong foundation in pharmacy, management, and economics. Not only did this demonstrate the importance of understanding the intersection of these subjects to fully understand global health, but it also demonstrated how important it is to continue learning. Hearing about his education made me begin to wonder whether I wanted to pursue higher education or if I wanted to get out into the field and start working. However, I soon realized that the biggest takeaway from all his experiences was that no matter in what form, the learning never stops. In higher education or out in the field, being aware of what you know and have yet to learn are both essential to make an impact in global health. That, and truly learning about the functions of a healthcare system. 

Zulekha Tasneem (SFS ‘22) is an undergraduate studying Science, Technology, and International Affairs with a concentration in Global Health and Biotechnology in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

February 10, 2020

Strategies for Instituting Sustainable Policy: A Conversation with Dr. Deus Bazira Blog Post

On February 11th, 2020, the Conversations in Global Health course welcomed Dr. Deus Bazira, Co-Director of the Georgetown University Center for Global Health Practice and Impact (CGHPI), to reflect on his career path and provide insights into health care policy. Born in Uganda, Dr. Bazira’s naturally inquisitive demeanor led him to pursue a Bachelor’s in Pharmacy, Master’s in Public Health, Master’s in Business Administration, and a Doctorate from universities around the world. He epitomizes the mindset of a lifelong learner, and his desire to expand his skillset is never satiated: “I have the confidence to know what I know, and what I don’t know.” 

Dr. Bazira’s years of experience in various health systems and policy arenas aided in lending wisdom to those interested in a career in global health. He stressed the pertinence of engaging with individual community voices and truly understanding a health care system before working to improve it. Without a thorough knowledge of a health care system, it is impossible to discern the needs and best practices for that community. Local stakeholders must be involved at all levels of policy decisions to effectively instigate sustainable change. Dr. Bazira’s emphasis on uplifting local voices has been the catalyst for many of his successes, such as his work on the implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that resulted in 90% virological suppression​among people living with HIV receiving antiretroviral treatment through Center for International Health, Education, and Biosecurity programs. 

I found Dr. Bazira’s insights on the role of the private sector in leveraging health service delivery in developing countries particularly informative for future policymakers. Ideally, he envisions the private health sector as well-regulated, healthy competition to the public health sector that alleviates some of the burden on public health systems in many developing countries. While Dr. Bazira recognizes that private, for-profit health facilities can bar vulnerable populations from care, the role of sustainable market incentives​for the private sector to engage in public health initiatives must not be understated. However, the crux of any private health sector involvement is sufficient regulatory frameworks to ensure optimal quality of care. 

Dr. Bazira’s vigor for instituting measurable change in health systems left everyone in the room inspired. Ultimately, this conversation reinstated my passion for why I wanted to study global health in the first place and allowed me to reflect on how I can use my position to most sustainably and effectively serve those around me. 

Cameron Kelly (C ‘21) is an undergraduate studying Biology of Global Health and Spanish. She is also a research assistant for the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study.