The paper features a written analysis of the article ‘Global Health Diplomacy: The New Recognition of Health in Foreign Policy’ by Ilona Kickbusch and Christian Erk. The paper summarizes the main points of the article and analyzes its strengths and weaknesses. The article addresses the crucial issues of the modern state of health through diplomatic and economic concepts. It also covers the determinants of health, its external dimension, foreign policy, and diplomacy.
Not only do the activities on health determine its state in the country, but unrelated actions, decisions, and policies can be particularly influential. The determinants can exist at one of the three interconnected levels: macro, middle, and micro. The most significant influences, including social, environmental, cultural, and economic aspects of life, compose the macro level. Conditions of work, housing, and neighborhood belong to the middle level while lifestyle and constitution remain at the micro-level. As a result, health affects other sectors, such as economics, and establishes the base for national growth and success. As health covers all societal issues, the best way to increase its importance is to take the ‘Health in All Policies’ approach which regards health as a shared value. This approach also takes into account the external dimension of public health.
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Health issues exist regardless of political and diplomatic situations. Due to the latest globalization trend, health has become an urgent concern. National health problems cannot be isolated because health risks are international. To have a healthy nation, a country has to be aware of its neighbors’ health policy and state. Moreover, it is vital to cooperate in order to maintain and improve it. Modern understanding of health makes it a global public good. Thus, the countries take the responsibility for maintaining and improving health as it influences deeply both developed and developing countries. Health actions represent a moral duty and an investment in national security and well-being. Consequently, the health issue is not only national. In fact, it should be examined according to health foreign policy and diplomacy.
Clear policies on health become important tools for resolving international health issues. Actions directed at the global health recognition and protection include alignment of the national health interests with diplomatic essences of the modern globalized world. However, the issues remain distant from the center of foreign policies. Improved diplomatic relations and transformation of foreign policy for the benefits of health can change the situation. Global public health goods can be under the protection of health foreign policy and health diplomacy. This intertwining will engage a larger number of participants in solving the problem. Such a complex interaction will include non-governmental organizations, activists, scientists, who will participate in the negotiating and decision-making processes. In fact, the similar step was taken in 2007 by signing the Oslo Ministerial Declaration which describes health as a starting point of foreign policy strategies development. Not only did developed countries support that initiative, but also other representatives were involved. For example, the countries that decided to take effective actions on health foreign policy are Switzerland, which adopted the Swiss Health Foreign Policy, and the United Kingdom, which issued Health is Global: Proposals for a UK Government-Wide Strategy.
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The article has both strengths and weaknesses. Firstly, it is useful from the perspective of social responsibility encouragement. The concepts discussed in the article, such as ‘health as a global public good’ and ‘health in all policies,’ motivate both governments and citizens to act responsibly and make decisions outside of the health sector that will, indeed, affect it positively. Not only the government but also the residents of the country are responsible for improving the state of health in society because it corresponds to macro, middle, and micro levels as well. Every particular individual’s health is a part of national health resource. Secondly, the article also shows health as a source for the economic development. Health determines human resources quality. If the quality of human resources is high, the industry where such resources are employed will be effective. Overall, the learning taken from the article includes the health foreign policy and health diplomacy concepts. Considering the modern globalization tendency, these concepts are valuable, For instance, even though the main concerns of diplomacy stated in the article rarely include health, it should be definitely a cornerstone of major advantages in many cases. Solving health problems may cause a positive effect on many non-health sectors.
The main reason for writing the article is to increase the awareness and to boost the importance of global health challenges. Undoubtedly, health security is an international question. As a result, the only way to encounter the health problems is to solve them jointly in the cooperation with other nations. Thus, health diplomacy means to treat health sector as a valuable economic basis. The article also features many interesting and useful facts describing, for example, the first medieval embassies made for spreading information on diseases and epidemics.
Kickbusch and Erk offer better ways of diplomacy conduct which include health as a ‘global public good’ concept and ‘health in all policies’ notion. It means that health requires interaction between the national sectors and diplomacy actors. The relationships between countries have to be carefully organized and competently managed. When the health discussion appears at the external level its issues become harder to tackle. However, following the main idea of the article, the value of health as global public good has to be appreciated more than it is now.
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However, not every point presented in the article is clear. The idea of health-oriented political revolution seems to be a drastic measure. The reverse of policy course will influence other, non-health, sectors and the whole life of society majorly in a non-identifiable way. The authors have not described accurately this idea. The concept of political revolution unites the art of negotiation and the content of expertise, but it does not feature any particular measures, except for the simple outline. No specific strategy of establishing and developing the health foreign policy and health diplomacy is described in the article, although the concepts are valuable and reasonable. Furthermore, they conform to the rules of modern diplomacy. However, the article should focus on the detailed description of possible solutions and actions required to maintain international healthcare system. Otherwise, it will remain underdeveloped.
The summarized points of the article pursue a common goal of recognizing health as a valuable resource and a global public good. Such a basic understanding of health is a key element of its international security and sustainability. A health foreign policy is a tool which helps to spread awareness among people. According to the diplomatic perspective, health should become an international resource and the countries should participate in securing and stabilizing it. Overall, the article features an upbeat presentation of the information displaying many interesting ideas and concepts that are useful for both diplomatic theory and practice. It also helps to encourage authorities and average citizens to turn more attention to the health sector and to make all decisions responsibly as they may affect health as well as any other social issue. The authors make strong points regarding health situation in the world. However, they do not explain clearly what they mean under health political revolution. Thus, the problem remains unsolved and requires further investigation.