Journal: Globalization and health
Is existing provision of health services in Europe affordable during the recession or could cuts damage economic growth? This debate centres on whether government spending has positive or negative effects on economic growth. In this study, we evaluate the economic effects of alternative types of government spending by estimating “fiscal multipliers” (the return on investment for each $1 dollar of government spending).
The governments and citizens of the developed nations are increasingly called upon to contribute financially to health initiatives outside their borders. Although international development assistance for health has grown rapidly over the last two decades, austerity measures related to the 2008 and 2011 global financial crises may impact negatively on aid expenditures. The competition between national priorities and foreign aid commitments raises important ethical questions for donor nations. This paper aims to foster individual reflection and public debate on donor responsibilities for global health.
Globalization describes processes of greater integration of the world economy through increased flows goods, services, capital and people. Globalization has undergone significant transformation since the 1970s, entrenching neoliberal economics as the dominant model of global market integration. Although this transformation has generated some health gains, since the 1990s it has also increased health disparities.
Free trade agreements (FTAs) can affect food environments and non-communicable disease risks through altering the availability of highly-processed foods. Few studies have quantified such effects. Using a natural experiment this paper quantifies changes in Peru’s soft-drink market before/after entry into the US-Peru FTA, compared with Bolivia, a county with no such agreement.
The Global Public Private Partnerships for Health (GPPPH) constitute an increasingly central part of the global health architecture and carry both financial and normative power. Gender is an important determinant of health status, influencing differences in exposure to health determinants, health behaviours, and the response of the health system. We identified 18 GPPPH - defined as global institutions with a formal governance mechanism which includes both public and private for-profit sector actors - and conducted a gender analysis of each.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represent a significant threat to human health and well-being, and carry significant implications for economic development and health care and other costs for governments and business, families and individuals. Risks for many of the major NCDs are associated with the production, marketing and consumption of commercially produced food and drink, particularly those containing sugar, salt and transfats (in ultra-processed products), alcohol and tobacco. The problems inherent in primary prevention of NCDs have received relatively little attention from international organizations, national governments and civil society, especially when compared to the attention paid to secondary and tertiary prevention regimes (i.e. those focused on provision of medical treatment and long-term clinical management). This may in part reflect that until recently the NCDs have not been deemed a priority on the overall global health agenda. Low political priority may also be due in part to the complexity inherent in implementing feasible and acceptable interventions, such as increased taxation or regulation of access, particularly given the need to coordinate action beyond the health sector. More fundamentally, governing determinants of risk frequently brings public health into conflict with the interests of profit-driven food, beverage, alcohol and tobacco industries.
Sustainable Development Goal Three is rightly ambitious, but achieving it will require doing global health differently. Among other things, progressive civil society organisations will need to be recognised and supported as vital partners in achieving the necessary transformations. We argue, using illustrative examples, that a robust civil society can fulfill eight essential global health functions. These include producing compelling moral arguments for action, building coalitions beyond the health sector, introducing novel policy alternatives, enhancing the legitimacy of global health initiatives and institutions, strengthening systems for health, enhancing accountability systems, mitigating the commercial determinants of health and ensuring rights-based approaches. Given that civil society activism has catalyzed tremendous progress in global health, there is a need to invest in and support it as a global public good to ensure that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be realised.
Near the end of 2013, an outbreak of Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) began in Guinea, subsequently spreading to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone. As this epidemic grew, important public health questions emerged about how and why this outbreak was so different from previous episodes. This review provides a synthetic synopsis of the 2014-15 outbreak, with the aim of understanding its unprecedented spread. We present a summary of the history of previous epidemics, describe the structure and genetics of the ebolavirus, and review our current understanding of viral vectors and the latest treatment practices. We conclude with an analysis of the public health challenges epidemic responders faced and some of the lessons that could be applied to future outbreaks of Ebola or other viruses.
Systematic reviews are powerful tools for summarizing vast amounts of data in controversial areas; but their utility is limited by methodological choices and assumptions. Two systematic reviews of literature on the quality of private sector primary care in low and middle income countries (LMIC), published in the same journal within a year, reached conflicting conclusions. The difference in findings reflects different review methodologies, but more importantly, a weak underlying body of literature. A detailed examination of the literature cited in both reviews shows that only one of the underlying studies met the gold standard for methodological robustness. Given the current policy momentum on universal health coverage and primary health care reform across the globe, there is an urgent need for high quality empirical evidence on the quality of private versus public sector primary health care in LMIC.
Trade and investment liberalization may facilitate the spread of sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages (SSCBs), products associated with increased risk factors for obesity, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases (Circulation 121:1356-1364, 2010). Apart from a limited set of comparative cross-national studies, the majority of analyses linking liberalization and the food environment have drawn on case studies and descriptive accounts. The current failure of many countries to reverse the obesity epidemic calls for investigation into both individual and systemic factors, including trade and investment policies.