Health and responsibility for health are increasingly global. The notion of “North” and “South” is becoming blurry, and traditional power relations are being replaced by global interdependencies between regions, nations, institutions, companies, communities, and people. The term “global health” therefore captures a sense of commonality across borders and the need for shared commitment and understanding to improve health throughout the world.
Global Health, however, also refers to interconnections between global politics, policies, agreements, and economic trends and their interaction with local structures, cultures and histories, impacting the health of individuals in local communities across the globe in a diversity of ways, resulting in profound reconfigurations of health inequalities within and between countries. The critical relationships among health, healthcare, technology, education, economic development, politics, socio-cultural environment and management require integrated multidisciplinary perspectives on these issues conducive to new forms of governance, accountability and leadership and new kinds of professionals.
Global Health also implies a transnational responsibility to tackle health issues throughout the world, requiring transparent and democratic forms of cross border governance. This commitment to approach global health as a shared responsibility and the need for professionals and scholars with skills to effectively collaborate in the field is key to our Maastricht Global Health network.
Global health is all about enhancing dialogue. This involves dialogue between disciplines in order to better grasp and tackle the inherently complex and multi-layered issues characteristic for global health, but also refers to the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences between major players in the field (academia, business and industry, policy makers and politicians, health professionals, NGO’s and international organizations) in order to facilitate their effective collaboration and to make optimal use of their combined expertise and know how. As we live in an increasingly interdependent world and as we witness the rise of new economic and academic powers in Asia, Africa and Latin America, overcoming outdated distinctions between a developed “North” and an underdeveloped “South” depending on the North is conducive for improving health across the globe. Initiating a dialogue and collaboration to effectively link up academics, professionals, policy makers and other players from across the continents is therefore an important objective of the Maastricht Global Health network.
Poverty and the capacity of people to pay for health services is one of the major barriers to access to healthcare, more so in low- and middle-income countries. While healthcare costs can impoverish people in many settings, in the poorest areas basic conditions for social security and social protection are lacking. A clear structure and appropriate arrangements for equal access to healthcare could prevent further decline in standards of living and enhance people’s health status, basic capabilities, life circumstances and well-being. It is our aim in research, education and capacity building to contribute to global policies aiming at developing broad-based health coverage schemes and programs, as well as support bottom-up initiatives to lower the threshold for people to increase their access to healthcare.
Inclusive and Sustainable Solutions
Maastricht’s inter-disciplinary environment, its collaboration with partners and networks of academia and expertise across the globe, and its critical, reflective attitude offers the creative environment conducive for rethinking old solutions, out of the box thinking and, consequently the development of innovative and sustainable approaches to Global Health’s complexities.