Patients on cots in airport terminal Patients waiting for evacuation after Hurricane Katrina, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, New Orleans, 2005
Courtesy DMAT San Diego CA-4

Why Global Health?

Opinions differ on the priorities for global health and the reasons for getting involved. Some experts argue that taking care of health problems can improve economies and create political stability. Others focus on the need to prevent diseases from spreading worldwide. Many disagree on which countries we should focus on, whether rich countries have fewer health problems than poor countries, or if inequalities that make people ill exist in all nations.

Take a look at some of the different viewpoints below, and follow the links to learn more.

Who should take responsibility for improving health at home and around the world, and why?


“It’s immoral that people in Africa die like flies of diseases that no one dies of in the United States. And the more disease there is, the more political unrest there will be, leading to more Darfurs, which the U.S. will have to pay to fix.”

— William J. Clinton, 2005
Former President of the United States

"Many organizations in the developing world—admirable organizations—do excellent work providing health care…They are all trying to solve health problems that are the consequence of poverty, but they don’t address the root cause of poverty… Once they stop providing free health care, the good health care stops."

— Mechai Viravaidya, 2007
Former AIDS prevention coordinator, Thailand

"…Disease knows no borders. In an era of terrorism and mass global transit, deadly and debilitating germs can travel between nations as easily as carry-on luggage."

— Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, 2005
Then United States Surgeon General

"In my view, clean water, productive soils and a functioning health-care system are just as relevant to development as foreign exchange rates."

— Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2005
Then Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals

"Corporate-led globalization continues to be a major threat to health… the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation have continued to advance the economic health of corporations at the expense of global health."

— The People’s Health Movement, 2004




Simply anyone with the ability to do so should take part in improving health both in their homelands and abroad. No single person, no matter their rank in politics or society, and no one nation, no matter their wealth or poverty, should be held accountable for every success and failure. It is up to the world as a whole to put aside their differences, biases, hatred, etc., and realize that we are one. If and when this happens, many, though not all, health-related difficulties and problems shall be fixed or at least improved in some form. No life is worth more than another.

First and foremost, you have to take care of yourself. You are responsible for the health at home and the environment your surround yourself in. Leaving the responsibility of taking care of a nation as a whole comes down to the individual him/herself, but I will environmental care should be enforced. Not only for the safety of the people, but for the planet as well. Many nations are not a fortunate as most, but this all comes down to the individual who takes care of himself and the environment that that person is in. If every individual took the responsibility of doing what must be done, then the world would be in a better condition and the people will have the benefit of other to help out in need.

Health is always a great wealth for all. Why we will not achieve this? In this consideration everyone wants to have good health. Let us build our healthier life with controlled food habit, discipline,keep pace with work, rest and or exercise. While Health is the root of happiness let us build a happier life.
Healthier Living

Global Health is the responsibility of every individual regardless of whether they are in a developed or underdeveloped nation. However the important thing is providing individuals with the tools to ensure good health. This is where the developed nations come to play because they have the scientific knowledge, technological expertise, and economic resources

Suggested translation of comment 231 from Puerto Rico:

Great work with these individuals. Keep going forward.

grandiosa labor con esaspersonas. sigue hacia delante.

Suggested translation of comment 223 from Peru:

I believe that an important improvement of health of peoples cannot be achieved unless first we improve basic living conditions and live together in peace. And if well, all of us have the responsibility in that (at all levels), also it is necessary that the authorities truly work for the well-being of their people without benefiting only those groups that are economically powerful. Then, we really will see a decrease of not just one but many illnesses together.

Yo creo que no se puede ver una mejora importante en la salud de los pueblos si primero no se mejoran las condiciones basicas de vida de la gente y se logra la convivencia en paz..y si bien todos tenemos responsabilidad en eso (a toda escala), tambien se necesita que las autoridades realmente trabajen por el bienestar de su pueblo, sin beneficiar unicamente a los grupos mas poderosos economicamente, asi realmente veremos una disminucion de no una sino muchas enfermedades en conjunto

The responsibility of global health should be on all of the world. We are all human beings, and live in the same world; lets take care of each other.

It seems that most faliures to treat disease are not due to faliures of economy, but faliures of spirit due to avarice. If we cut down on political corruption, and instill solidarity in communities, we will eliminate much of disease.

It is our respomsiblity as people and future doctors and leaders of america to take care of the worlds ppl> no matter what


I don't believe that there is one single person responsible for the world's health. It should be and is a joint effort from everyone, ranging from our doctors to families and parents, health in the home should not be held in a different respect to the health of the world. Everyone's health and well being is the responsibility of everyone. However, all we need is a group, or a community leader to spread the message, who can influence the people to see their individual responsibilty to our worldy community.

Basic health is a human right. There are so many around the world who do not even have basic human needs met. Countries like the US should have a domestic and international plan to help these people. Most importantly, sustainable solutions should be discovered in eliminating poverty. Organizations world-wide are helping in this as well. It's an ongoing mission that everyone should be aware of and take part in.

For improvement in health,education on importance of good health should be encouraged.globally, aids should be provided for the underdeveloped countries to improve their health facilities.keep up the good works.

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the enormity of need, and to do nothing. The best way to tackle this powerless feeling is to learn about what is being done globally and to see that taking steps really is the way forward.

That looks like lots of comfortable white people compared to the television news coverage I saw. Did the television networks cover-up another embarassing truth about race and public health in the USA or was the video of black people wading through a cesspool more sensational and therefore brought in better ratings/more money to the networks?

In a global village, a disease burden in any country ultimately affects us all. We must learn to think globally and act locally to pressure the political structures in which we live to participate in a worldwide effort to improve health for everyone.

It is the responsibility of us all to push the world's attention toward ensuring access to health for every living human being!

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