Volume 108
Issue 6
June '20

Imagining Global Health with Justice: Transformative Ideas for Health and Well-Being While Leaving No One Behind

Written By: Lawrence O. Gostin & Eric A. Friedman

Abstract

Talk to people in communities of color in the United States, or indigenous communities, or people who live in poverty or have little education, or LGBTQIA+ people, or migrant workers. People who know what it is like to live on society’s margins are not likely to speak of the triumph of global health. Rather, they might lament unaffordable medical bills, health services they cannot access, or the poor care they receive. Or they might speak of their inability to afford nutritious food or decent housing, or lack of trust in the safety of their water or the cleanliness of the air they breathe. The reason could be as simple, but as profound, as discrimination due to their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

Here, we propose an ambitious agenda to bridge the gap between years of laudatory global health headlines and the realities of vast swaths of the world’s people, with proposals that could comprise part of a new global health architecture to prepare the world for the next pandemic, which must have the goal of protecting even the poorest people in the poorest countries. We offer three far-reaching ideas that, collectively, would span from international law to domestic law and policy to grassroots empowerment: a Framework Convention on Global Health, a Right to Health Capacity Fund, and health equity programs of action. If enacted, these proposals would have a transformative impact on population health, leaving no one behind.

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