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Global Health Governance and Poverty Essay


People in low-income countries are disproportionately afflicted by diseases that could be prevented and treated at low cost. Poverty in developing countries is a major threat to global health because it significantly contributes to the spread of infectious diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis, high children mortality rates, and malnutrition among other problems (Schieber et al. 921). Improved governance of health care systems at both national and global levels could become an effective response to this issue (Frenk and Moon 936). The aim of this paper is to outline the importance of health in global governance and discuss the issue of poverty in less-developed nations as a significant challenge to the global health system.

Economically developed countries are associated with low levels of disability and morbidity (Muennig and Su 217). Less-developed nations, on the other hand, “account for 56 percent of the global disease burden” (Schieber et al. 921), whereas the global health care spending aimed at improving their plight remains at meager 2 percent. Even though billions of dollars are spent each year on foreign aid, more than half million women in low-income countries die every year during pregnancy and childbirth (Schieber et al. 921). The average life expectancy of people living in countries like Swaziland, Angola, or Zambia does not exceed 38 years (Muennig and Su 217). However, it should be mentioned that even though there is a direct link between longevity and economic growth, the connection between health and wealth disappears after an average per capita GDP of a nation exceeds US$4,000 (Bank of America Merrill Lynch 127).

Therefore, in order to substantially improve the health of poor nations, it is necessary to meet their basic needs. According to Muennig and Su, lack of clean water, sanitation, and vaccines “accounts for twenty to forty years of life expectancy” (217). It means that meeting fundamental needs is essential to human survival and functioning; therefore, global health governance should be concerned with restoring human capability through the development of sustainable health solutions and infrastructures at large scale. The international community should focus on immunization and basic medicines, provision of food and potable water, sanitation and sewage, tobacco control, pest control, health education and disease prevention and treatment in order to substantially improve health in poor countries and stop the spread of infectious diseases to other regions and nations (Gostin and Mok 12; Hulme 43).

Developing nations should be accommodated with tools necessary for the provision of basic health services. However, building scalable health systems is an endeavor that requires sound infrastructures, monetary and human resources. Taking into consideration the fact that the global health care spending in developing countries amounts to only 2 percent, the international community has a long way to go in its commitment to ensuring the right to health for the entire world (Schieber et al. 921). Considering that the provision of basic survival needs of poor nations by strengthening global health structures has “the added benefit of improving world health” (Gostin and Mok 12), it could be argued that global health governance system has to direct more efforts towards the elimination of the problem of poverty.

The attainment of basic health and survival needs of less developed nations is the major problem that should be addressed by global governance. Therefore, it is necessary to achieve better performance of the global health system by eliminating poverty and improving health infrastructures in developing countries.

Works Cited

Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Transforming World, Web.

Frenk, Julio, and Suerie Moon. “Governance Challenges in Global Health.” The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 368, no. 10, 2013, pp. 936-942.

Gostin, Lawrence, and Emily Mok. “Grand Challenges in Global Health Governance.” British Medical Bulletin, vol. 90, no. 1, 2011, pp. 7-18.

Hulme, David. Global Poverty. Routledge, 2015.

Muennig, Peter, and Celina Su. Introducing Global Health: Practice, Policy, and Solutions. Jossey-Bass, 2013.

Schieber, George, et al. “Financing Global Health: Mission Unaccomplished.” Health Affairs, vol. 26, no. 4, 2011, pp. 921-934.

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IvyPanda. (2020, September 11). Global Health Governance and Poverty. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/global-health-governance-and-poverty/

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"Global Health Governance and Poverty." IvyPanda, 11 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/global-health-governance-and-poverty/.

1. IvyPanda. "Global Health Governance and Poverty." September 11, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/global-health-governance-and-poverty/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "Global Health Governance and Poverty." September 11, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/global-health-governance-and-poverty/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Global Health Governance and Poverty'. 11 September.

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