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What is Global Health?
Globalisation has created a myriad of unprecedented challenges and opportunities for healthcare systems. For decades, the health systems of wealthier nations have benefited from the migration of healthcare workers from resource-poor areas of the world. This ‘brain drain’ has had significant effects on the healthcare systems of the countries that these workers have left behind. We have also witnessed the rapid spread of infectious diseases across continents in unexpected ways, most notably with the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic. We now see the rise of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors that have spread from wealthier to poorer countries, with a rapid increase in low- and middle-income countries. This led to the United Nations convening a summit on non-communicable diseases in September 2011, providing a unique opportunity to address these global issues at the highest international level.1
Evidently, nations can no longer consider the health of their own populations in isolation. Instead, this century's healthcare challenges must be addressed in unison through a multi-sector global health approach. This is an approach which focuses on ‘the health of populations in a global context and transcends the perspectives and concerns of individual nations’.2 This also sets a challenge for current and future clinicians across the globe. Are we ready to collaborate across national boundaries to improve the health of patients not only in our own consulting rooms but also worldwide? If not, we will struggle to achieve the goal of health equity for all.
Why is involvement in global health vital? A UK perspective
To harness the opportunities of global health, there has to be a shift …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.