A few weeks ago, we once discussed the concept of One Health which was referred to as an innovative approach to solving complex health challenges through relevant multidisciplinary and multi-institutional collaborations. The working tripartite collaboration of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), OIE (World Animal Health Organization), and WHO (World Health Organization) is a classical model for One Health. These three international organizations have committed to working together across their respective work disciplines and across countries to promote the health of humans, animals and the environment.
Here we will provide simple and basic introductions to other interesting aspects of health that have been established over the last few decades and are have been utilized in approaches to clinical and public health care. The health themes are focused on populations and are also gradually being adapted to animal and environmental health.
These health themes include Global Health, International Health and Public Health.
Now, all these ‘healths’ may be very intricately linked together but they still retain their own various functionalities and uniqueness. Our emphasis would be on Global Health but we would also discuss briefly on Public Health and International Health.
According to Koplan, “Global health is an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving health equity for all people worldwide”. Though there are slightly varying definitions, Koplan’s definition seems to capture the most essence of this and it also well accepted across publications and journals. From this definition, there is a focus on health improvement, equity and access across all people and communities irrespective of race, color, religion, economic status and across geographical locations. Also, Global Health involves and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration (Here comes One Health again!) and it is an effective fusion of population-based prevention with individual-level clinical care. Furthermore, Global Health is a direct derivative of the Alma Ata Declaration of the WHO which also promotes multi-sectoral approaches to improving health and the emphasizes the need to strengthen primary health care as the foundation of all health systems.
Public health focuses on the health of the population of a specific country or community in a defined geographical region.
International health, focuses on the health issues in low-income countries or developing countries especially infectious diseases, and maternal and child health. International Health has also been used to refer to the work of international organizations (such as WHO), and countries, who work through international health departments in their Ministries of Health. It is also referred to for the provision of development aid and humanitarian assistance.
The table below provides basic information on basic differences and work focus of all the health themes.
Adapted from Koplan et al, (2009)
|Global Health||Health issues that transcend national boundaries||Global||Prevention and clinical care||Health equity among nations||Highly interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary|
|International Health||Focus on issues outside of one’s own country||Bi-national||Prevention and clinical care||Help other nations||Embraces a few disciplines|
|Public Health||Focus on specific communities or countries||National||Prevention||Health equity within a nation or community||Multidisciplinary, particularly with health and social sciences|
|One Health||Might be restricted to a specific community of country, or outside of one’s country, or collaboration between two more countries||Local, National, Bi-National or Global||Mostly prevention||Approach to solving complex health issues||Highly interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary|