Understanding Global Health

As this discussion of globalization suggests, dealing with health issues one nation at a time has inherent limitations. This problem has led to new interest in what is re- ferred to as global health. Global health refers to the ways that health and illness transcend borders—along with people, goods, health providers, floods, crops, and so on. The idea of global health emphasizes that disease can be spread or prevented not only by national governments but also by myriad other players from the World Bank to local nonprofits, to small peddlers who move drugs, needles, food, and other supplies across borders. Finally, the concept of global health emphasizes the similarities as well as differences in health problems around the world and the importance of developing equitable solutions to those problems. As this suggests, the term is primarily used by those who take a critical stance toward health and society.

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