This chapter describes a wide range of contemporary health challenges. It begins by assessing what it means to be healthy. The Covid-19 pandemic, and the response to it, have brought to the fore and shed new light on many of the issues that are core to Global Political Economy (GPE). Despite spectacular advances, there are huge inequalities in health in the world today, both within and between countries. Improving health requires both prevention and cure: public health efforts to protect and promote the health of populations, and healthcare services that are accessible to all in times of need. The chapter then considers how the social, economic, and commercial determinants of health can best be understood by adopting a GPE lens. A GPE framework can also reveal the challenges the world faces in its attempt to achieve universal access to quality healthcare.
20. New Directions and Challenges for Health and Development
Cristin Fergus, Tim Allen, and Melissa Parker
This chapter addresses the connections between health and development, in both terms of development indicators and policies. Development processes that lead to improving livelihoods are linked to new kinds of health problems, including a rising prevalence of certain diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. Challenges in providing health services to populations will increasingly involve responding to the double burden of disease. In other words, infectious diseases associated with poverty will need to be addressed at the same time as non communicable diseases. Specific issues that need to be dealt with urgently include the rise in antimicrobial resistance, which has emerged as a consequence of the protracted, incorrect use of medications. Serious concerns have been highlighted about new disease epidemics, such as Ebola and COVID-19, which are recognized as a threat to public health internationally, in part due to air travel and population movements. This, in turn, has been associated with a more overt linking of security with disease control, and the possibilities for militarized enforcement procedures.
Sara E. Davies
This chapter describes the increasingly prominent representation of health as a security issue. It begins by presenting the ‘origin’ story of health security that has led to the contemporary practices we see today in the WHO and UN Security Council. The chapter then looks at the different approaches to health security—namely, human security and national security—and considers why security is mobilized to respond to health issues. The focus here is on public health events and their location (regions and borders). The chapter also examines who the ‘peoples’ to be protected from the dangers of health security are. The COVID-19 pandemic reveals that despite a rapidly emerging global public health threat endangering everyone, with some more exposed to harm than others, the response was not equitable and reinforced existing hierarchies.