Global Health: Definitions, Issues, and Solutions in the Age of COVID-19 - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1820 Words
Date:  2023-05-06


This essay will begin by giving definitions of global health and its interconnectedness to the aspect of globalization. The article will also assess global health issues, global health inequity and provide both historical and current perspectives on how to lengthen the lives of people around the globe. The essay will then examine global health in the world today as far as the COVID-19, also known as the Corona Virus disease is concerned. It will explore the negative notions associated with comprehensive health and their impacts. The essay will also examine the effects of globalization on global health and non-communicable diseases. It will further elaborate on the universal burden of diseases, sanitation, water and the influence of behaviourisms and culture on global health. In conclusion, the essay will show the need for global unity in eradicating some of the issues as discussed above and in securing a lasting solution for the globe, which is unity against disease.

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The concept of global health is a broad field that entails research, copious amounts of studying, resources and training requirements and remains unclear to a majority of people. This is attributed to the fact that there is no clear or conclusive definition of global health. A few proponents such as Macfarlane et al., the United States Institute of Medicine and World Health Organization have attempted the following descriptions. Macfarlane et al. defines global health as a worldwide advancement of health, protection against universal threats, reduction in the overall number of disparities and disregard to a country's borders (2008: 383). The United States Institute of Medicine describes global health as the issues, concerns and health problems that traverse national boundaries and could be influenced by experiences and circumstances from other nations (Armstrong-Mensah 2017, pp. 5). These issues, as according to the body, are best tackled by cooperation in both viable actions and solutions. The World Health Organization also explains global health as the "health of a people in a worldly context and which transcends the concerns or perspectives from individual nations (Armstrong-Mensah 2017, pp. 5). From the above three definitions, it is safe to say, therefore that there is indeed no singular explanation for the term "global health".

Historical Perspective

Dating back through history, one can easily spot the numerous technological and scientific advances that have been made in the search for a solution to today's global health. Different societies like the Babylonians, for instance, designed the first of its kind sewage system which was to protect the water supplied to its people from disease and contamination. It is a true statement as around the globe today, and various governments have within their structures a Ministry for Water, Hygiene and Sanitation. Besides, when Louis discovered pasteurization, he managed to heal the whole world from getting various food items contaminated by germs and bacteria (Markle et al., 2013 pp.1). At the same time, the formation of the world-renowned WHO in 1948, most diseases which were life-threatening such as malaria, small-pox, tuberculosis were safely eradicated and vaccines made to prevent against future re-occurrences.

Globalization and Global Health

Globalization is hardly a terminology that is easily explainable, but a few commentators have managed to narrow it down to two spheres. A particular group of people applaud the idea of globalization for its ability to provide instant access to information and also creating excellent communication channels. Globalization is also attributed for being able to uplift millions of persons earlier on subjected to poverty. In a second sphere, however, it is condemned as a force of destruction bent on annihilating both social and traditional values. It is viewed as the enemy that wrecks the planet and manages to stretch a person's wellness beyond levels which are sustainable by humankind (Steger 2017, pp. 16). Armstrong-Mensah (2017: 7) however, describes globalization as the process whereby global interdependency and inter-connectedness increase as a result of cultural, social and political integration. As a result of globalization, people do migrate from city to city in search of employment opportunities and thus creates room for the movement of pathogens and various diseases across different borders. By the year 2007, statistics indicate that over 50% of the globe's population is residing in cities and towns. Currently, trends are indicative of the fact that the numbers may rise and with no proper provision of social amenities such as water, sanitation and proper waste disposal, then the consequences could be fatal (Armstrong-Mensah 2017, pp. 11).

Additionally, human intrusion to new environs may lead to occasional transmissions and exposures (Griffiths et al.,2014, pp.14). A good example is yellow fever which is endemic to monkeys and thrives in tropical regions. What takes place is when new inhabitants, like loggers and hunters after felling trees, they encounter the Haemogogus, Aedes and Sabathes species. These are yellow fever causing mosquitoes found in the canopies and feed on the hunters and loggers, thus transmitting the yellow fever disease. Upon their return to the cities, these loggers are already infected and sick. The spread of the disease is maintained via the second type of mosquitoes known as Aedes aegypti. This species is well adapted to urban regions and is also able to spread the dreaded dengue fever, which is an epidemic to many sections of the globe (Griffiths et al., 2014, pp.14).

Effects of Globalization on Global Health

Next, it is no small feat for the world to have joined hands in establishing the World Trade Organization, also dubbed as the WTO. For the 50 years or so, the organization has been in place several health risks on a global scale have continually hit different nations (Pang & Guindon 2004, pp.11-16). Through WTO, commodities such as tobacco are quickly sold. They become accessible to a majority of the countries in the world. According to WHO, deaths arising from tobacco abuse will exponentially reach 10 million in the coming two decades. Further statistics indicate that up to 70% of these deaths will be caused by tobacco-related ailments, lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and lung diseases will be witnessed in developing nations (Murray & Lopez 1997, pp. 1498).

Developing countries are increasingly at risk since the same nations that are banning cigarette advertisements and tobacco businesses are directly targeting poorer nations as potential consumers (Pang & Guindon 2004, pp.11-16). The Global Youth Tobacco Survey Collaboration Group, (as cited in WHO 2002, pp. 252-270), is mainly concerned about the disturbingly low initiation ages where young children and adolescents are observed to be picking up the habit quite young. The massive consumption of alcohol is another facet in which through the globalization of numerous industries has led to dire health risks (Jernigan 1997). Unlike the use of tobacco, which has a substantial increment in mortality from several distinct conditions alcohol's impact is far more complex (Doll 1998, p. 87). Research shows a strong correlation between the regular consumption of alcohol to certain cancers, violent tendencies, and liver cirrhosis. At the same time, however, minimal uses of the same are known to effectively reduce contracting some cardio-vascular diseases hence complex (Beaglehole & Yach 2003, pp. 903).

Positive Impacts of Globalization on Global Health

One positive impact of globalization is as follows. At the start of the twentieth century, a majority of public health issues throughout the world were by a significant margin infectious in nature. In the United States alone, the life expectancy for its citizens was at 45.2 years (Markle et al.,2013, pp. 2). By then, the five leading killer diseases were stroke, tuberculosis, diarrhoea and enteritis, heart disease and influenza and pneumonia. The life expectancy in less developed countries and the African continent was even lower. One hundred years later, however, and as a result of globalization, health statuses and life expectancies of people all over the world improved took a positive turn. By the year 2009, the average Norwegian was living up to 81 years, the American 79 years, the Japanese 83 years and the Malaysian 73 years. The same trend was equally witnessed in less marginalized nations with struggling economies (Markle et al.,2013, pp.2). Global health had been turned around, and globalization has been the tool to do it.

In developing nations, globalization has been a saviour of sorts. Through globalization, the three pillars forming the Washington Consensus provided some pieces of advice as pertains the fiscal austerity, market liberalization and privatization to developing nations (Kawachi & Wamala 2007, pp. 6). This entailed the years between 1980 and 1990 as an integral unit of the "structural development loans" which were supposed to disbursed more so to African nations. The IMF and the World Bank equally played crucial roles in the same. The question that may also arise is why would globalization be linked to global health and why the considerable transfer of funds to weaker states? Take the example of the Hurufa village in Ethiopia. Till recently, the distance between the town and the nearest health centre in a town known as Awasa was six hours long. A severe medical emergency in Hurufa was likened to staring at death in the face. The Ethiopian government, through the help of the World Bank, constructed a dirt and gravel route which connected Hurufa and Awasa. As a result, the distance was remarkably shortened to a one hour's difference (Dugger 2004 cited in Kawachi & Wamala 2007, pp.6).

Global Health Inequities

Global health inequity refers to the distinctions in the health statuses of people residing in the same country and globally, too (Armstrong-Mensah 2017, pp. 7). This is accredited to inequities in the social and economic factors in areas like sex, education, race and income. These two paradigms determine to what extent people would be able to access health care centres if they become ill. They also learn the type of care the patient would receive; that is whether it would be quality health care or not.

A good example is the dengue fever disease which was eradicated in America but could still be witnessed in other parts of the world. For instance, it was one of the leading causes of child mortality in Thailand (Griffiths et al., 2014, pp.14). This is a classic example of how inequalities in global health care are taking place. There was a lack of political will and sufficient resources to ensure that re-introductions of the same disease to different parts of the world were not seen. This sadly did not take place as the African continent is the most recently affected by the disease (Griffiths et al., 2014, pp. 14).

What is crystal clear, however, is the inequitable distribution of wealth among different countries of the world. In the year 2014, tuberculosis which is one of the oldest diseases in the globe, took more lives than the HIV/AIDS pandemic (Clinton 2017 et al., pp. 9). Besides, it is quite saddening as the era people are living in today is one of the astounding scientific advancements and technological progress such that reports of over a million children dying during birth or within a week of their deliveries should be non-existent (Clinton 2017 et al., pp. 9). It is easy to prevent these overwhelming numbers of people dying with globally inculcated preventive measures as well as affordable health interventions. Besides, simple and effecti...

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Global Health: Definitions, Issues, and Solutions in the Age of COVID-19 - Essay Sample. (2023, May 06). Retrieved from

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