Global health agenda for the twenty-first century

Adrian Ong, Mary Kindhauser, Ian Smith and Margaret Chan

in Oxford Textbook of Public Health

Fifth edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780199218707
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199609673 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Global health agenda for the twenty-first century

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The right to the highest attainable level of health is enshrined in the charter of the World Health Organization (WHO) (2002a) and many international treaties. It is this aspiration that spurs the work of the Organization and frames the broader global public health agenda for the twenty-first century. It is a tall order. But the right to health is more important today than ever before given the dramatic evolution in the architecture of global public health and the growing prominence of health within the human security, rights, and development agendas.

This chapter lays out, in three sections, a strategy and agenda for global public health by assessing the current context, challenges and opportunities in the global health landscape. Many of the issues highlighted are not new. The first section examines current global health problems and the challenges they present. It reviews the revolution in health spurred, in part, by demographic transitions in societies and by globalization and its related nutritional and behavioural transitions. The second section analyses the impediments to scaling up health service delivery and improving access to care. Building upon these lessons and issues, the final section outlines the fundamental principles and means by which health systems can meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

Chapter.  16630 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Public Health

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