BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Global Health Practice in the developed and developing countries



Given the many differences between developed and developing countries, there are variations in how global health is accepted and practiced in these countries. Developed countries are sovereign states with well urbanized economies and advanced industrial, technical and scientific infrastructure compared to developing or less developed nations. Most commonly, the criteria for evaluating or assessing the degree of economic development include gross domestic product (GDP), gross national product (GNP), the per capita income, level of industrialization, amount of widespread infrastructure and general standard of living. Furthermore, global health practice and health development may be assessed by quality of life, morbidity and mortality rates, research output, amount and availability of funding, life expectancy. Therefore, it is not always black and white which countries should be categorized as developed- and in what areas, and which should be termed developing.

In addition to the differences in the economies and health systems of developed and developing countries, there are also differences in the disease burdens in these countries. The disease burdens in a country- to a large extent, determine its health resources, promotions and global health practice. Developed countries are burdened mostly by chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and AIDs while developing countries are burdened by infectious diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and flu. Most recently however, developing countries face a double burden of disease due to the consistent adoption of western lifestyle and culture. Infectious diseases in developing countries account for more than 20% of the disease burden world-wide, yet attract less than 1% of the total public and private funds dedicated to health research. Despite bearing 90% of the global disease burden, developing countries receive only 10% of all health research funding used to address these diseases. As a consequence, health care and global health practices are often poorer in developing nations.

It is very important to strengthen healthcare and research capacity in developing countries through national and international funding and collaboration. Currently, several non-profit organizations and governmental bodies, with the help of World Health Organization, Canadian Coalition for Global Health and Commission on Health Research for Development, are making efforts to address this global health research imbalance, commonly known as the 10/90 gap. The imbalance in global health funding, standard of living, GDP and other markers of development between developed and developing countries essentially affect the quality of health care and services in these countries. These in turn affect the practice and progress of global health. Global health, typically defined as the collaborative, multinational, research and action for health promotion, is founded on national public health efforts and organizations. It can be equated principally with individual based and population-wide interventions consisting of strategies for health promotion and improvement, and across all sectors, not just health. Developed countries are pioneers in health research, universal health care and progressive health promotion initiatives mostly because of the amount of funding available for health and also because of their experience and culture.

Despite differences in global health practices, health inequalities exist between population groups in all countries including developed and developing countries. However, the causes of inequalities in these countries may differ significantly. These differences are visible across several groups of social stratification including socioeconomic, political and ethnic.

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