What is Global Health?
Global health is the health of populations in the global context; it has been defined as "the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide". Problems that transcend national borders or have a global political and economic impact are often emphasized. Thus, global health is about worldwide health improvement (including mental health), reduction of disparities, and protection against global threats that disregard national borders.
Global health integrates expertise and perspectives from the fields of public health, medicine, epidemiology, health economics, behavioural science, environmental sciences and anthropology, among others. It provides a new platform for research, education and information on health challenges faced by the world population.
The predominant agency associated with global health (and international health) is the World Health Organization (WHO). Other important agencies impacting global health include UNICEF, World Food Programme, and the World Bank. The United Nations has also been instrumental with the declaration of the Millennium Development Goals and the more recent Sustainable Development Goals.
Global Health in the News
Global Health is ' hot'. Even in a world where wars, terrorism, fundamentalism and racism so often seem to dictate the world news and social media, if you stick to the data the world really is a better place than 25 years ago. A world with less poverty, better health, better education, better everything really.
As Mark Twain wrote already a very long time ago: " Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." So it is clear that people should travel more!
Read Johan Norberg's book 'Progress': " Contrary to what most of us believe, our progress over the past few decades has been unprecedented. By almost any index you care to identify, things are markedly better now than they have ever been for almost everyone alive. Examining official data from the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Health Organization, I trace just how far we have come in tackling the issues facing our species. While it’s true that not every problem has been solved, we do now have a good idea of the solutions and we know what it will take to see this progress continue. Counter-intuitive, dramatic and uplifting, Progress is a call for renewed hope in defiance of the doom-mongering of politicians and the media."
Read 'World's Best News' by Dutch 'Curious Cosmopolitan' Ralf Bodelier. Check out the late Hans Rosling at the Gapminder website and on Ted.com with the ' Best stats you' ve ever seen'. Follow Max Roser on Our World in Data. Or see the data at work at Goalkeepers by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.