Health on a Global Level
In the world of science, health is a concept that relates to the absence of disease. A person can be deemed healthy by the medical profession, but medical advancements can also lead to the discovery of new diseases. In this medical paradigm, people’s perceptions of health are irrelevant, as only those observations that match the medical criteria are relevant. Therefore, health is not just the absence of disease; it also involves a person’s overall well-being.
There are many aspects of health, and the definition of good health varies across different environments. For example, an obese individual may suffer from anemia or shortness of breath if they spend their days shoveling snow. In contrast, a sea-level dweller may develop shortness of breath and anemia if they spend their days in the mountains. Moreover, mental illness can also have an adverse effect on one’s physical well-being.
While declining death rates and increasing life expectancy suggest that our health has improved, such statistics do not account for other aspects of health. The fact is that there is no single national measure of health, including mortality rates, morbidity, quality of life, and perceived well-being. These are not always easy to quantify or interpret. Thus, we need to look beyond health care and public health to find solutions that can improve the health of the population. If we are to achieve health on a global level, we must improve the health status of the entire population.
The World Health Organization constitution was adopted in 1948, acknowledging health as a human right. This constitution states that everyone has the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health. The right to health does not discriminate based on race, political beliefs, or economic status. In fact, many nation states have incorporated the right to health into their constitution. As a result, they are legally required to safeguard access to quality health and make provision for the determinants of health.