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1 Billion users - Well done! But there are still bigger fish to fry.

Written by Dr Alastair Buick · Monday 18th February 2013

I would like to say "well done, Mark Zuckerberg" as Facebook tops 1 billion active users! But all this is while 1 billion people in the world never see a health worker in their entire lives.

The internet is the most powerful tool of our generation and there is no doubt that its influence will increase further in the future. I think we can all recognise the success of an enterprise such as Facebook and it is certainly a commendable feat to bring 1 billion people closer together on a regular basis. Well done Mark Zuckerberg!

But does this not highlight some bigger questions? When will we see the internet making a real difference?

I don't mean to belittle any enterprise such as Facebook which excites and energises a huge community, but when will we see a movement that has such an impact to save and improve billions of lives every month?

The WHO Global Health Workforce Alliance estimates that there are a billion people alive today who will never see a health worker in their lives... Ever! We are not short of the tools to change this.

So, how will this movement come about? Will it be a political push? Will it be an established company that walks in the 'right' direction? Or could it come from the grassroots?

I believe this is one of the greatest challenges of our generation, and the most exciting challenge I can think of. As a doctor and co-founder of Meducation, we have started a movement in the right direction. Meducation aims to unite the medical community - yes all of it, but we know our limits.

You can not make such an impact in one step. Most of the charitable solutions and philanthropic activity takes us huge leaps in the right direction and these are of significant importance, but will we ever see the sort of impact possible if we can't maintain the ability to push forwards with the attrition needed to effectively get this right.

I would assume that most of those who have set up an innovative and successful solution to a problem would say that they could not achieve this with an element of freedom to experiment, try different methods and approaches before finding the formula that works. Is it not the same with this problem?

The solution is going to grow from the grassroots and for us at Meducation, although we are starting with health workers in the UK, we certainly see the hopeful future where the health workers in the developing countries can gain access to the educational material and support they need from the rest of the community. With the global medical community working closely together, we will be better placed to help the 1 billion people who would have never see a health worker in their lives.

So well done Mark.... but there are still bigger fish to fry.