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Global Health Buzzword Bingo

Going to a global health conference? Want something fun to do as you navigate all the talks, seminars and workshops? Then look no further: Buzzword Bingo is here!

I love global health. I've been to a fair few global health conferences, summits and meetings over the years, and can safely say that the same issues tend to crop up over and over again. Which is probably a sign that they are not easily resolved, and rightly need attention. What also happens, though, is that certain words—often normal, everyday words—are seized on and horrifically overused, to the point of absurd deviation from their original meanings, along with some mild cringeworthiness. Think “management-speak” and apply it to global health.

I am totally guilty of it myself, and acknowledge that sometimes having a common lexicon can be helpful and speedy. But my fear is that, if (over)used without thinking, these words will become as pointless as a flat pancake. So, in a vague attempt to resist becoming a fully-fledged platitude-spinner, yet with tongue planted firmly in cheek, I’ve come up with a little game, which you can play, too.

All you have to do is circle all the “buzzwords” you hear, and give yourself a point for each. Go crazy! Use colours! Stickers! Send me your creations! And if you really want, ask the people who use these buzzwords to explain exactly what they mean—so that their language can add value to, rather than obfuscate, the conversation, and help solve those problems of genuine and pressing concern.


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