The January 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine "includes the first article in a series of review articles on global health," Harvey Fineberg of the Institute of Medicine and David Hunter of the Harvard School of Public Health write in an NEJM editorial. "The series is built around articles that explain the need for global health, the challenges to achieving it, and the solutions to problems related to it," they add. They discuss how "the meaning of the term global health has evolved over time," and say, "In developing this series, we adopted the concept of global health as 'public health for the world,'" which "condenses the definition offered by the Institute of Medicine's Expert Committee on the U.S. Commitment to Global Health in 2008."
"Challenges to global health are huge, and the disparities between and within countries are vast; however, the connectivity of global trade, travel, and skilled labor and our collective exposure to transnational threats, such as climate change and pandemics, have necessitated a more global approach to improving the health of populations," Fineberg and Hunter write. "Solutions to global health problems depend on new technologies, ... improved capacities and resources, ... better-designed health care systems, systems to promote population health, and improved global governance," as well as in some cases "[c]oordinated action across countries" and "disease eradication," they add. They note, "Although the series will not attempt to cover every topic in global health comprehensively, we have invited the authors to summarize key examples of problems and their potential solutions and to present major themes and current priorities in this field" (1/3).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.