Koplan et al. define global health as: “an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving health equity for all people worldwide”. It is one thing to be in control of your own health, but what about other’s health that you have no control over but can affect your one way or the other.

The world is now a global village and international travel is on the rise every day. Some persons in a part of the world today could be in another part only in a few hours. That implies that if everything remains okay in a continent and another suffers a transmittable disease, the possibility of the disease spreading to the other continent is certain. Because of this, doctors can no longer focus solely on their local communities when diseases from across the world can effortlessly end up in their hometown clinics.

Finding a solution requires a collective effort from individuals in a variety of disciplines. This is where the concept of global health h begins. Global health is basically the study, research, and practice of medicine, focusing on improving health and health care equity for populations worldwide. Global health initiatives do not consider only the medical alone but also the non-medical disciplines, such as epidemiology, sociology, economic disparities, public policy, environmental factors, cultural studies, and so on.

Global health places more importance on equity, rather than equality. In global health, health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It deals with transnational health disparities arising from health inequalities. Global health involves cooperation and/or exchange of data between countries.

On a global scale now, nations of the world are classified into two major categories- Developing and Developed. In the context of our analysis on this page, Developing Nations will be tagged as “Global South”, while the Developed Nations will be “Global North”. Even though researchers and leaders in a variety of fields are leading initiatives that form coalitions between historically disassociated fields, World Health Organization is one of the most prominent agencies focused on advancing global health.

Global health issues, for easy analysis, will be classified into these six major categories:

  • Disease Outbreaks– Endemics, epidemics, and pandemics. Endemics are diseases contained at a baseline level in a geographic area without external inputs. An example will be chickenpox in the UK. An epidemic is a rapid spread of disease to many individuals in a population within a very short time.
    The possibility of an epidemic becoming a global threat is high without quick intervention. COVID-19 was an epidemic in China before spreading outside of the Asian border to other countries, and that made it a pandemic. A pandemic is an epidemic that is spread over multiple countries or continents.
  • Environmental Factors. The concern is rising about the environment center on climate change and air pollution. The major point of concern is how these challenges will directly affect the health of the human population. Major foreseeable consequences of environmental issues are devastating storms, flooding, droughts, and air pollution, and because of all these issues, diseases are more easily spread across large groups of people.
    Even though prevention looks more like the best solution, but part of the immediate solution is to provide resources like bottled water, sanitation technology, and education. Climate change is gaining more attention globally now, especially as researchers and scientists all over the world are sounding that it might be the greatest threat to human health.
  • Access to Health, Inequality, and Economic Disparities. It’s easy to think that when access to health is mentioned, it will about countries in the Global South (Developing Nations), but unfortunately, this remains an issue too with some of the wealthiest countries in the world, especially the United State of America. Some of the direct and indirect effects of economic disparities on global health are harsh realities in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), high child mortality rates,
    Some of these disparities are geographical, where some rural areas, some developing countries have shortages of health workers. Some other disparities are income inequalities and gender inequality which has, for several years rubbed women and children of their basic human rights.
  • Politics as a factor. Refugee migrations occur mostly from nations where some political conflicts have caused some dangerous situations due to the destruction of basic live infrastructures in those places. The possibility of a widespread disease among refugees is high and threatening to the entire population. Hence, the intervention to ensure that policies are made to bridge short-term humanitarian crisis to improve healthcare access.
  • Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). These are diseases are also known as chronic diseases, and are usually because of genetic, physiological, environmental, and behavioral factors. NCDs are responsible for about 70% of all deaths globally. The major types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and stroke, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, and diabetes.
    Because of the attributable lifestyle factors like poor diets, inactivity, tobacco use, or alcohol consumption and low-income level linked to most of these diseases, education will play a long role in the prevention of NCDs.
  • Animal Health, food sourcing, and supply. It is no more news that animals are part of human food. Any contamination of animal health can be transmitted to the human at all stages of the food supply chain. To effectively improve global health, especially with pathogens originating from animals or animal products playing such a significant role in disease transmission, it is now imperative to include veterinary medicine in the initiative.
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