What really distinguishes “global health” from public health or community health? Some would argue that global health is related to issues that transcend borders or the idea that countries need to understand international shifts in policy to control diseases at home.
Others would argue that these issues are common public health principles but that globalization has changed the way we think about public health in our home countries. We can no longer assume national health policies are enough but we also need to be cognizant of what is happening throughout the world when it comes to our own health.
For this reason, the planetary One Health concept is growing in acceptance. Planetary One Health recognizes the interconnectedness between people, animals and the planet. This interconnectedness is important whether we are talking about diseases crossing over from animals to humans, the environmental impact on agriculture or the influence of human activity on climate and natural disasters.
Planetary One Health gives us an opportunity to step back and reflect on our practices and behaviors as a society. It is easy to sit back and not do anything as long as my individual rights are not being affected but I would argue that whether we see it or not, our rights to live healthy lives are being affected. Social structures, cultural norms, global geopolitics and international business practices all impact our ability, motivation and capacity to live healthy lives as individuals and a society.
I challenge you to consider how you define “global health” and what steps can you take to strengthen our world as a place to live a quality life both now and in the future.
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