Understanding the Difference Between Global Health and Public Health

In the modern globalized world, it’s important to ensure that healthcare is being properly handled in large communities. The terms global health and public health are commonly used when referring to large healthcare initiatives and you may be wondering, is global health the same as public health? Although some use the terms interchangeably, and there is a great deal of crossover between what the two cover, they are not quite identical. Here are the easiest ways to differentiate between a global health issue and a public health issue.

What Global Health and Public Health Have in Common

Before you can understand what separates the two, it’s important to understand what similarities global health and public health share. In both disciplines, the goal is the assess the health conditions of members of large communities. In addition to assessing the current state of health in those communities, the state of the industry is also considered. From the physical structures in place to the overall network of support and access for members of the communities, global health and public health experts work to fill in any holes they discover. This makes it easier for people to access their healthcare, reducing the risk of everything from minor health issues to global pandemics.

Scope of Focus

The easiest way to understand the difference between global health and public health is in the limits of the communities in question. While global health initiatives are focused on the health of everyone on the planet, public health professionals are focused on improving healthcare within a particular community. This can range everywhere from large communities, like a continental health organization working among several nations, to smaller communities like working in healthcare within a town, making sure that the residents have access to the care they need. With global health work, these limits and borders do not matter. Work is done around the world in order to increase the overall health of all communities.

What About International Health?

It might be tempting to think global health should be called international health due to its focus on working with many different nations to find global solutions. The reason global health is used instead is that international health is already its own area of focus. If you know someone who works in international health, that means their work is focused on developing nations in particular. While caring for smaller, developing nations is an important part of global health work, it is not the full extent, as global health professionals also work towards improving life in all countries, even those among the world’s most developed.