Global Politics and Human Health


A report recently published in The Lancet by a commission chaired by Professor Ole Petter Ottersen (of the University of Oslo) explores the implications that imbalances in power among various nations have for human health and efforts to move toward global health equity. This report illustrates the disastrous effect of political struggles on the quality of healthcare received by citizens of countries disadvantaged by such diplomatic setbacks. Professor Ottersen is quoted as asserting that the health inequities evident around the globe are “exacerbated by the current system of global governance that places wealth creation over human health.”

Vast technological advances in modern medicine have minimal repercussions for those who do not have access to basic healthcare. The report makes it clear that political intervention—or at least a level of cooperation among the health-minded and the politically minded—is necessary if progress is to be made. Current methods of international governance are deemed unsuited to the task for their lack of tangible, meaningful results in terms of improving the status of healthcare around the globe. Among the aspects of politics and world affairs that the commission considered to be influencers of the state of worldwide human health were food security, financial policies of austerity, and migration.


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