Global health gained increasing interest during the recent infectious disease outbreaks and high mortality from non-communicable diseases. We started to study this concept and looked at the papers related to the definition and challenges of global health. Crisp and Chen (2014) evaluated the shortage of staff in hospitals, and it was the most helpful resource in understanding this problem. The global health network is faced with such problems as limited access to medications and the lack of medical personnel because of insufficient collaboration of the pharmaceutical industry and educational organizations with the public.
Many definitions of global health were suggested, but confusion in understanding this term still exists. The explanation that made the most sense to me was provided by Beaglehole & Bonita (2010), who stated that global health is the “collaborative trans-national research and action for promoting health for all” (p. 1). I consider it is an accurate definition because the ultimate objective of clinicians and researchers is to attain physical and mental well-being for people. Furthermore, according to Hunter & Fineberg (2015), globalization in healthcare is an inevitable process because medical knowledge, scientific discoveries, and the health workforce reached the level of multinational exchange. Still, the problem of inadequate collaboration to elucidate this concept results in the persistence of the issues in this sphere.
The main challenges for global health initiatives vary from an understanding of a research question to governance. Indeed, Shiffman (2017) describes the four issues: problem definition, coalition-building, positioning, and administration. Moon et al. (2010) discuss the need for correct resource allocation in basic and clinical research. The overall suggestions from these two manuscripts are strengthening international collaboration, improving national healthcare systems, and investing in medical education.
The global health issues will perpetuate because new diseases and hence new methodologies arise constantly. When one problem is addressed, the next one will appear on the horizon. For example, the existing issues of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis have not been resolved yet due to the reluctance of pharmaceutical companies to engage in commercially useless campaigns even if thousands of lives are at stake (Hassoun, 2016). However, the coronavirus crisis persists despite the availability of free vaccination worldwide. These issues will always exist because governments, corporations, or the public introduce challenges that inhibit solving specific problems.
The lack of health professionals is a critical problem, especially for developing countries. Indeed, Crisp and Chen (2014) claim that insufficient global hospital staff supply is the primary reason for the imbalance between the Western world and sub-Saharan Africa. The proposed solution to increase the workforce is innovative educational reform that will include teamwork, competency-based skills, and leadership development (Crisp & Chen, 2014). I think these are effective methods; however, they will require significant investments and external assistance to be implemented in developing countries.
Although humans have a fundamental right to health, not all people have access to healthcare services. For example, drug patenting makes them expensive and inaccessible to many (Hassoun, 2016). I think that the idea of purchasing and distributing medications to patients by governments is essential for consideration. However, eliminating patents may have adverse consequences because it will result in uncontrolled underground drug production. Garrett (2017) and Hassoun (2016) state that healthcare should be a fundamental human right. I agree with both authors because, as Garrett (2017) pointed out, economies crash, resulting in the inability of many people to purchase health insurance due to unemployment. However, humans retain their rights, including liberty and health, regardless of their job status; thus, healthcare is also a right.
In summary, global health is a complex term that can be understood as a collective effort to ensure people’s well-being. Although my family has healthcare insurance, I can relate the studied material to some individuals I know who cannot afford it due to low income. I think it is crucial to talk about this issue; therefore, I plan to address this problem on blog platforms to raise awareness about global health issues and suggest ways to resolve them.
Beaglehole, R., & Bonita, R. (2010). What is global health? Global Health Action, 3, 1-2.
Crisp, N., & Chen, L. (2014). Global supply of health professionals. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(10), 950-957.
Garrett, L. (2017). Global health in a populist and nationalist age. Journal of International Affairs.
Hassoun, N. (2016). Individual responsibility for promoting global health: The case for a new kind of socially conscious consumption. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 44(2), 319-331.
Hunter, D. J., & Fineberg, H. V. (2015). Convergence to common purpose in global health. Readings in Global Health: Essential Reviews from the New England Journal of Medicine, 289-293. Web.
Moon, S., Szlezák, N. A., Michaud, C. M., Jamison, D. T., Keusch, G. T., Clark, W. C., & Bloom, B. R. (2010). The global health system: Lessons for a stronger institutional framework. PLoS Medicine, 7(1), 1-5.
Shiffman, J. (2017). Four challenges that global health networks face. International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 6(4), 183-189.