Globalization is a multifaceted word approached with diverse perspectives by different actors. Liberalist, for instance, emphasizes that globalization is a process of market-led extension of modernization as a result of 'natural' human desires for economic welfare and political liberty, thus interlinking humanity across the planet (Cornia 2001). However, to Karl Marx, the proponent of Marxism, asserts that globality is about the nature of capital driving beyond every spatial barrier to conquer the whole earth for its market. Marxists believe that globalization happens because trans-world connectivity enhances opportunities for profit-making and surplus accumulation.
Therefore concluding the two perspectives, globalization consequently is the growing interdependence of the world's economies, cultures, and populations, brought about by cross-border trade in goods and services, technology, and flows of investment, people, and information. European colonization and trade activity led to the first "wave" of globalization hence increasing economic cooperation among countries (Cornia 2001). The globalization trend eventually waned and crashed in the catastrophe of World War I, followed by postwar protectionism, the Great Depression, and World War II. After World War II, the United States led efforts to revive international trade and investment under negotiated ground rules, starting a second wave of globalization, which remains ongoing, though buffeted by periodic downturns and mounting political scrutiny.
Today, the distinctive characteristics of the current era of globalization are the intensity of the debate concerning the benefits versus adverse impacts (Cornia 2001). The wide-ranging effects of globalization are complex and have a multifaceted influence on global health. The links between globalization and health are intricate, and globalization is a complicated phenomenon that can affect health in myriad ways. The consequences (WHO 2004) can be either direct, at the level of whole populations, individuals and healthcare delivery systems, or indirect, through the economy and other factors, such as education, sanitation, and water supply.
Each manifestation of globalization poses a new challenge and opportunities to the health of the nations. As a result, understanding the relative costs and benefits of globalization is imperative in paving the way for alleviating problems while sustaining the wider payoffs.
Subsequently, basing on different theoretical perspectives such as liberalism and Marxism, research and existing evidence, this essay provides an evaluation of the impact of globalization on the health of societies, identifies current and emerging global threats to health and analyzes the importance as well as the effectiveness of collective national and global responses to health issues. The essay similarly addresses the critical global health issues, patterns, and transitions that these problems have assumed.
Impacts of Globalization to Societal Health
Globalization has a significant effect on international travel, with severe consequences for global health. The liberalization of the airline industry in many countries has made air travel affordable for more people around the world. (Sutherst 2004). One million people travel internationally every day, and the same number travel between developed and developing countries each week, putting the number of global tourist arrivals per year at 700 million (Gossling, 2002). The possibility that a person in the early stages of an infectious disease can be halfway around the world in 12-15 hours aiding the spread of the disease to vulnerable, non-immune populations is high.
The outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in February 2003 in Vietnam, for instance, establishes the potential of infectious diseases to spread rapidly in today's world, hence increasing the risk of a global pandemic. In the first week of May 2003, 30 countries on six continents had reported a total of more than 7,000 probable cases with more than 500 deaths of SARS (WHO, 2003). Another example is the global spread of antibiotic-resistant Pneumococcus that was first identified in Spain in the early 1980s and rapidly spread to South Africa and the USA before spreading to all other parts of the world (WHO, 2000). Each year, approximately two million children die in developing countries as a result of lower respiratory infections, mostly pneumonia. The exact origin of this Pneumococcus strain is likely to come from the Far East (McGee et al. 2001). Thus communicable diseases are an example of illnesses that do not respect territorial borders.
Globalization, besides communicable diseases, is i implicated in the spread of non-communicable diseases which are associated with lifestyle behaviours. The globalized manufacture and marketing of cigarettes present a health threat far from being solved. Despite an understanding of the hazards of smoking tobacco for more than four decades, the burden of premature mortality and morbidity caused by cigar shows no sign of abating.
In 1995 cigarettes caused more than 3 million deaths worldwide, of which 2 million occurred in rich countries and 1 million in developing countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the death toll from tobacco abuse alone would reach 10 million a year over the next two decades. 70% of these deaths, caused by lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), lung diseases, diabetes, and many other tobacco-related ailments, will occur in developing countries (Murray & Lopez 1997). The developing countries are at particular risk, as industrialized countries ban cigarette advertisements, tobacco companies intensively target people in poorer nations as potential customers. The high incidence of smoking among children and adolescents with a disturbingly low age of initiation, raise additional concerns.
Besides, the marketing and consumption of a diet with high amounts of refined carbonates combined with a shift towards sedentary lifestyles increases concerns about the rising rates of obesity. The spread of the universal brand names of popular beverages and fast food contributes mainly to the global epidemic of obesity through the replacement of traditional diets with fat and calories.
In 2019, diseases, such as cancers, diabetes, obesity, caused about two-thirds of the global disease burden, up from 40% in 2010. This rapid increase illustrates the globalized risks for conditions that are mainly caused by diet, even in less developed countries that have coexisted under-nutrition (Cornia 2001). There were 151 million cases of diabetes worldwide in 2001, and this increased by 46% to 221 million cases in 2010, with the steepest growth in the developing world.
Globalization of trade, further, manifested in the implementation of the World Trade Organization's agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) extend patent protection on new drugs for a minimum period of 20 years. As a consequence of high prices, TRIPS portends to limit and undermine access to new medicines, especially to poor populations living in the developing world (Kamal & Bailey 2003). The implementation of TRIPS exacerbates health risks besides trade being relevant for health services that have become a commodity that can be traded in distinct ways. Health services such as telemedicine tools, tele-diagnostics, teleradiology as well as medical consultation can be provided across borders through traditional and electronic channels. Moreover, patients travel abroad to receive health care or use individual facilities (Lowson et al. 2009) while countries, including developing ones such as Cuba, openly advertise to attract foreign patients to their clinics and hospitals.
Furthermore, health services themselves have become an industry that attracts foreign investments. Several transnational companies from developed and developing countries have created commercial health services through the purchase and establishment of hospitals (Chanda 2002). Likewise, the international movement of health personnel across borders has become a significant component of the trade-in health services and has attracted considerable attention in the scientific field.
Global Health Issues
The world is facing multiple health challenges ranging from outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and diphtheria, increasing reports of drug-resistant pathogens, growing rates of obesity to the health impacts of environmental pollution and climate change and multiple humanitarian crises.
Air pollution and climate change, being among the ever-rising global concerns, have a detrimental effect on health. Nine out of ten people breathe polluted air every day. In 2019, air pollution was considered by the WHO as the most significant environmental risk to health. Every year, 7 million people are killed prematurely from diseases such as cancer, stroke, and heart and lung disease (Cornia 2001). These diseases are caused by the penetration of Microscopic pollutants that are in the air into the respiratory and circulatory systems, damaging the lungs, heart, and brain. 90% of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries, with high volumes of emissions from industry, transport, and agriculture.
Burning fossil fuels, which is the primary cause of air pollution, is a major contributing factor to climate change, which impacts people's health in different ways. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause 250 000 additional deaths per year.
On the other hand, non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, are collectively responsible for over 70% of all deaths worldwide, which is about 41 million people (Kamal & Bailey 2003). This includes 15 million people dying prematurely, aged between 30 and 69. Over 85% of these premature deaths are in low- and middle-income countries. Five major risk factors have driven the rise of these diseases: tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, and air pollution. The risk factors have aggravated mental health issues that mostly originate from an early age.
What is more, the world is likely to face another influenza pandemic except that the precise time of occurrence and the magnitude of severity is not known. Global defences are only as effective as the weakest link in any country's health emergency preparedness and response system. WHO is continually monitoring the circulation of influenza viruses to detect potential pandemic strains. Another challenge perturbing the world is the fragile and vulnerable settings existing in the world today. More than 1.6 billion people, an equivalent of 22% of the global population, live in places where protracted crises through a combination of challenges such as drought, famine, conflict, and population displacement, as well as weak health services, leave them without access to basic care. Vulnerable settings exist in almost all regions of the world, and these regions are where half of the key targets in the sustainable development goals, including a child and maternal health, remain unmet.
In addition, the development of antibiotics, antivirals, and antimalarial are modern medicine's greatest success. Contrariwise, time with these drugs is running out. Antimicrobial resistance, which is the ability of bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi to resist these medicines, threatens to send the world back to a time when treatment of infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea was a hard nut to crack. Resistance to...
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