History of Global Health

Introduction[edit | edit source]

The term global health arose from the term tropical medicine and international health. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, "colonial medicine" focused on preserving the health of European colonial rulers and protecting them from health consequences related to tropical diseases. Thus the name "tropical medicine" was born. The British pathologist Harold Scott defined tropical medicine as the following:

"“We can then trace how improvements have been brought about, usually first with a view to safeguarding the health of officials and European traders, and later undertaking also the treatment of natives by which two purposes would be simultaneously accomplished - benefit to the health and well-being of the native and further protection of the white man from native-born infection.”

International health evolved during the second half of the 20th century which focuses on health problems and challenges in low-income countries. The concentration of international health is to:

  • prevent, measure and treat infectious diseases,
  • improve water supply and hygiene
  • promote maternal and child health

International health helps low-income countries overcome their health issues by attaining aid by high-income industrialised countries.

The term global health was established in the last two decade. This concept expands and is broader without limitations by borders and to include every health challenge or transnational determinant including:

  • worldwide eradication of diseases
  • antibiotic resistance
  • food security
  • urbanisation
  • migration
  • climate change[1]

** Global health extends to confronting drivers of health, social and political determinants, and non-health sectoral issues.[2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Holst J. Global Health–emergence, hegemonic trends and biomedical reductionism. Globalization and health. 2020 Dec;16(1):1-1.
  2. Ojiako CP, Weekes-Richemond L, Dubula-Majola V, Wangari MC. Who is a global health expert?. PLOS Global Public Health. 2023 Aug 17;3(8):e0002269.