The concept of global health is a broad approach to improving health. This concept addresses a wide range of problems that are largely intractable within one country and cannot be solved by one single organization or sector. It seeks broad solutions that include research and collaboration among different countries and stakeholders. One of the ways to accomplish this is to establish international partnerships. In this way, knowledge and capabilities can be exchanged across countries and between stakeholders to develop and implement practical solutions.
The United Nations’ General Assembly is hosting its first Special Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases in September. The UN estimates that non-communicable diseases account for 35 million deaths annually. The international community is under increasing pressure to control these diseases and mitigate their effects on the world population. In addition, these diseases tend to affect women and children disproportionately. Thus, addressing these issues is of paramount importance. For example, reducing harmful alcohol and tobacco use is a key way to promote health in low and middle-income countries.
While development assistance for health has grown significantly in recent years, it has continued to grow at a slower pace than in years past. In the US, development assistance for health has increased by 50% over the past two years. While this is an encouraging sign, it is not yet clear how the global financial crisis has impacted total domestic health spending. Further, the growing incidence of disease-specific initiatives has raised transaction costs for development agencies. This means that the money allocated to global health initiatives is not being spent as effectively as it could be.
Increasing investments in health in developing countries has significant public health benefits for the United States. In many cases, investments in health in developing countries can help the United States address the dual burden of disease that includes noncommunicable diseases and environmental health risks. However, as development continues in developing countries, the need for health care will shift to a greater extent. In developing countries, health systems will be forced to prioritize noncommunic diseases as they are often more difficult to address.
China’s BRI also creates opportunities for Chinese scholars to contribute to global health. China has a lot to learn from other countries and their medical practices. It can also learn from other countries about how to improve their healthcare systems and reduce health disparities. It can also learn about how to construct healthy lifestyles and avoid unhealthy behaviors. Therefore, it is necessary for the Chinese government to engage in global health as an active participant in the process of development of other countries.
In addition to tackling health problems, global governments also need to address environmental challenges. Many countries have implemented regulations to reduce household energy use and encourage large industry to adopt more environmentally-conscious practices. These changes will have profound effects on health. The authors recommend that governments and international organizations consider these solutions when developing and implementing global health programs. These initiatives will help the world to live healthier lives. They can start by building sustainable communities in the developing world. With the help of local and international organizations, global health can improve in many ways.