Population ageing: a global health crisis?
Population ageing: a global health crisis?

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Population ageing: a global health crisis?

6.1 How does globalisation impact on health?

You will now look at the different ways that globalisation might impact on health.

Activity 6 Globalisation: benefits and risks to health

Allow about 45 minutes

Listen to Audio 2 by Professor Ilona Kickbusch on the impact of globalisation. Using information from this audio and the article by Lee that you read in Activity 5, start to fill out the table below on how globalisation can affect health. If you have any additional ideas, add these to the table too.  

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Transcript: Audio 2 The impact of globalisation

ILONA KICKBUSCH
Globalisation affects public health at very many different levels. I mean, first of all, globalisation means that our societies, or one could even say our world, is being restructured. The way we live, the way we work, but even the way we think and therefore what in public health we call the determinants of health are being very heavily affected, in terms of who is able to work, what kind of work you can get, how you can live, urbanisation is one of these things that comes with globalisation, so that’s one level.
The other level of course is that globalisation means that people and things travel more and more quickly with great speed. We have to see that our food that comes from all parts of the world is safe. Obviously viruses can travel without having any concern for borders, but also if you think of the expansion of the tobacco trade, for example, how smoking is becoming an issue in many poor countries; you have this travelling of things and people. Then of course travelling of things and people also means, for the health services themselves, that things change.
One of the great problems for developing countries in a global world is that they lose their professionals, that there is a brain drain in the developing world that doctors and nurses go to countries where they have better working conditions and better income. And so you have this enormous change in both the rich, as we call them even though they don’t always feel rich, both the rich countries and the poor countries and, of course, as always there’s winners and losers of globalisation.
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Audio 2 The impact of globalisation
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Table 3 How globalisation can affect health

Dimension Benefits for health (direct and indirect) Risks to health (direct and indirect)
Economic integration
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Technological innovation
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Increased mobility
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Environmental factors
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Discussion

The table below shows how globalisation can impact health, including what you may have gathered from the audio and reading, as well as some additional points you may have thought of.

Table 3 How globalisation can affect health – completed

Dimension Benefits for health (direct and indirect) Risks to health (direct and indirect)
Economic integration

Rising living standards

Investments in education and health

Economic recessions likely to impact globally, threatening living standards

Increasing gap between poor and rich nations

Companies in high-income countries exporting health-damaging products (for example, tobacco and fast food) to low- and middle-income countries

Technological innovation

Decline in production costs – cheaper food and medicines, for example

ICT communications can support education and economic development

Improved management of global health risks as can respond quicker

Digital divide – poor do not have access to innovation

More effective marketing of health-damaging products (such as tobacco)

Increased mobility

Economic migration boosts poor countries’ income

Travel promotes cultural exchange and innovation

Migration of healthcare professionals fills gaps in receiving countries

Easier spread of infectious diseases (perceived threat from low- and middle- to high-income countries)

Financial burden of high-income countries providing care for ‘unhealthy’ migrant population from low- and middle-income countries

Migration of healthcare professionals results in understaffed systems in origin countries

Environmental factors Better housing, amenities and transport as national incomes rise

Energy-intensive production and consumption (air and car travel) increases pollution and climate change

Depletion of natural resources, decline in open spaces and biodiversity

Cognitive factors Transfer of ideas regarding healthcare provision Change in lifestyles resulting from advertising and marketing of health-damaging products
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