Is humanitarianism an effective, justifiable and sustainable response to ill-health, inequality, injustice and war?
Global health is public health at the global level. It deals with the interconnections between peoples from all over the world. It is based on the idea that it is necessary to cooperate internationally to respond to diseases, disasters and conflicts which now threaten us all. Humanitarianism, in all its various forms, is one such response. In attempting to organise a humanitarian intervention, though, we are confronted by a wide range of problems. Most acute of these is the intense inequality which marks the contemporary world. Public health – its capacities, delivery structures and finances – is profoundly different for the 1 billion people who live in the world’s wealthier countries. Those elsewhere have much more limited access to publicly funded or privately insured medicine. As a consequence, non-governmental humanitarian organisations now deliver a large proportion of the world’s health care.
This course introduces these issues by looking first at the vague, yet highly contested, notion a global health agenda. It then goes on to consider how and why the world’s wealthier countries have sought to develop a response to the emergencies and crises that the vulnerabilities of others have produced. Here, public pressure and the ethical imperative to bear witness when confronted with such suffering are especially important. Finally, the course considers whether or not humanitarian assistance can be considered a right. It looks at the emerging Responsibility to Protect agenda and the associated moral dilemmas around sovereignty, post-colonialism and duty-based ethics.
Within this context, the course explores these critical normative and logistical questions:
- Is humanitarian aid as a concept, as simple as the rich helping the poor?
- Are these interventions well-meaning and effective?
- Should governments be committing tax revenues – involuntarily given – to improve the health of others far away?
- Do those that can afford it have a responsibility to act in some way?
- What does receipt of aid mean for the recipient country, its leadership, its future, and its responsibility?
- Must people be helped only according to need, regardless of what a regime might have done?
- Must humanitarians remain neutral – silent perhaps – in the face of injustice in order to ensure access?
- Must the causes of inequality, suffering and violence be ignored in favour of access, action and outcome?
Become part of the global health community and prepare yourself to join teams providing care. This course explores how multidisciplinary teams can work more effectively together to address global health needs. Whether you seek a career in international health or medicine, volunteer to serve those less fortunate, or work in an institutional setting such as a clinic, hospital, or public health agency, it is important to understand the sources and movement of diseases.
This course will provide you with an overview of the most important health challenges facing the world today. You will gain insight into how challenges have changed over time, we will discuss the likely determinants of such changes and examine future projections. Successful international strategies and programs promoting human health will be highlighted and global health governance structures will be mapped and the role of the key actors explored.
Around the world, we are increasingly socially and economically interdependent. Health on one side of the globe affects people on the other. Global health, once merely an ethical consideration, now dominates discussions and policies of global security. A diverse team of experts in this emerging field has come together to help you contextualize your experiences as a new or seasoned global health responder.
This course proposes an overview of current global health challenges drawing on the insights of several academic disciplines including medicine, public health, law, economics, social sciences and humanities. This interdisciplinary approach will guide the student into seven critical topics in global health.
Learn about the evolving Ebola epidemic and its various aspects including disease prevention, management and treatment, response to the epidemic, ethical considerations, and the post-Ebola global health landscape.
The field of global health is often thought of purely in medical or public health terms, but there are important geopolitical and policy dimensions of global health that underlie programmatic responses to global health challenges.
Understand antibiotic resistance and what actions are needed to address this increasingly serious global health threat. The introduction of the first antibiotic in the 1940s marks a true turning point in human history. For the first time, once deadly infectious diseases, such as pneumonia and bloodstream infections, became manageable health problems and new horizons for modern medicine were defined. The marketing of other antibiotics soon followed, and as a result of their initial success, bacterial infections were considered to be permanently defeated.