What Is Global Health Protection?
Global health protection refers to a range of activities that aim to ensure the people’s right to health is not violated at any cost. Essentially, it is a subset of public health function. Unlike a single nation’s health policies, it is a broad concept that encompasses all the preventive and remedial actions that are taken globally. This is in contrast to international health which restricts its activities to the developing nations only.
The primary goals of public health protection are:
● Enhancing public health capabilities
● Responding to global emergencies or disease outbreaks anywhere in the world in an effective manner. Think of the Ebola or Bird flu outbreak.
● Extend global life expectancy
● Increase the quality of life
Apart from these, it also works to address growing health security concerns. For example:Health during a crisis, and the effects of both infectious and non-communicable diseases. Additionally, it covers child and maternal health, health costs, and violence against women (VAW).
WhyGlobal Health Protection Should Be Every Nation’s Concern: Problems Now and Ahead
The use of advanced transportation systems and intercultural links have blurred boundaries. In fact, we are closer to each other than ever before.
“Boundary separates us but humanity connects us in the best possible way.”
How would you feel if your friend in South Asia is struggling with the effects of a major earthquake? Surely, you would call him/her or have a video chat (if technology allows!).
Similarly, what would you do if anyone you love is traveling to a nation marred by Ebola?
Would you worry about a French friend who is mourning the deaths of his countrymen in a terrorist attack?
These questions are just a few examples of how we have shifted from a nation’s citizen to a global citizen. Understandably, the same applies for global health too.
Now, let’s have a closer look at the stats and the current and future problems that global health protection initiatives have to face.
According to a 2014 report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), a whopping 80% of the population across 44 countries are devoid of global health protection. Especially, a number of West African and South Asian countries are facing this dire situation.
The access to primary healthcare services is largely hindered by the level of poverty in these countries. What’s more frightening is they have to pay for the healthcare services on their own. That being said, out-of-pocket payment (OPP) is one of the main reasons for an increasing rate of impoverishment. Thus, the vicious cycle of poverty and ill-health does not seem to end anytime soon.
Another contributing factor is insufficient healthcare manpower. Regrettably, thousands of people have to rely on a single healthcare worker to meet their needs. Basic services such as identifying diseases and getting the primary treatment are often out of reach for a large fraction of the population.
The effects of civil war and violence on public health leave us wondering if humanity still exists. In fact, war-torn nations are examples of how low we can slump.
All things considered, we are decades away from healthcare equity on a global level. For this reason, we all need to work together to bridge the gap. To start, a more focused and integrated approach towards catering to the basic healthcare needs would be the best.
Which Organizations Are Involved in Global Health Protection Initiatives?
World Health Organization (WHO) plays a central role in widening global health protection coverage. In addition, UNICEF, World Food Program, and the World Bank are other major organizations that are working for the same purpose.
In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a separate division that looks after the global health protection issues. It works in a close association with WHO, U.S. government agencies, and health ministries of the partner countries.
Together, they aim to help each other develop and utilize the resources to counter the effects of looming health problems.
What’s the Solution?
The solutions are simple, at least on paper. In most cases, it is the implementation part which takes a toll on the outcomes of any health policy. Nonetheless, we should be optimistic about the future and dream of a better world.
Here are some probable solutions that will surely improve the situation.
● Increased government spending on health systems to build a stronger healthcare team.
● Policies to cut down OPP. As a result, the rate of impoverishment will fall.
● An effective provision to track health system performance, and monitor progress toward health goals.
● Capacity building to control HIV/AIDS.
● Dissemination of health information and awareness on both short-term as well as long-term health threats.
● Decentralization of healthcare reform.
Every country should make sure that each of its citizens has an easy access to the healthcare. Additionally, they should also work to bridge the gap between the rich and poor when it comes to health access.
The efforts of the organizations like WHO and UNICEF will not suffice if the local governments do not lend their helping hands.
Therefore, it is imperative that all the countries put aside their interests for a bigger cause which is global health protection.
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