global health

Quick Reference

A term that became popular early in the 21st century to describe health problems that transcend national borders and services aimed at preventing or treating these conditions. It seems to have several meanings. Some agencies and organizations apply it to diseases that are prevalent mainly in tropical and subtropical regions, e.g. malaria; others use the term to allude to prevalent infections such as HIV/AIDS or to emerging epidemic diseases such as SARS, and others apply it to conditions associated with poverty and deprivation, as in low income countries and urban slums. The Institute of Medicine has used the term to refer to health problems, issues and concerns that transcend national boundaries, may be influenced by circumstances or experiences in other countries and are best addressed by cooperative actions and solutions. Some commercial enterprises use the term to mean application of market methods to deal with health problems at trans‐national level. In the absence of consensus on its meaning, all who use the term should define what they mean by it, but it may be preferable to adhere to established terms with universally agreed meanings and avoid using the term global health. See also international health, world health.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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