Global Health Matters Introduction

Pregnant woman receiving an influenza vaccination at the Maternal and Child Hospital in Vientiane, Laos. Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Global Health Matters Introduction
01 September 2022

Cha-Hsuan Liu
Research Fellow IIAS, c.liu@iias.nl

IIAS Blog GLOBAL HEALTH MATTERS is a new series of conversations concerning health/wellbeing, the practice, and society from both regional and global perspectives. It is inspired by the roundtable ‘Global Health and Asia Pacific’ at the ICAS 12 Leiden in 2019. As much has happened around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, increases our awareness of health, care, and wellbeing on both individual and societal levels. It is more important now than ever for us to deepen our understanding of what a well-lived life entails.

Staying healthy is considered an ultimate goal for a sustainable life while healthcare is one of the most basic and fundamental needs of human beings. Social factors, such as socioeconomic status, education, neighbourhood and physical environment, and employment, determine our health and the possibility to access adequate health care. Across the globe, healthcare provision is unevenly distributed because of these social determinants and the availability of infrastructure, etc. In this blog, we aim to initiate discussions on how health and wellbeing are influenced by societal and contextual structures, how they are distributed across societies globally, and how policies may help to improve health and wellbeing at multiple levels of society.

While Global Health has been heavily concerned in academic work and in the practice, most discussions are based on Western-oriented knowledge. The knowledge often overlooks the experience of the rest of our world. Only the Asia Pacific region is home close to 60% of the world’s population and consists of countries with varying levels of health care and well-being practice ecosystems sophistication and maturity. At the same time, the substantial economic growth of Asia Pacific and other developing countries in the last decades has allowed the healthcare system to transform and evolve into a variety of practices.

Can we learn from wisdom about health and well-being that has been reserved in diverse cultures or from those novel experiences?

The blog GLOBAL HEALTH MATTERS invites opinions and conversations to expand the conceptualization and knowledge of health and wellbeing with inclusive perspectives across borders to better understand how to promote and cultivate health and wellbeing for all. Key issues are explored and considered via dialogues, conferences, and email exchanges. The first two ‘tiles’ of this blog are based on the discussions of the ICAS roundtable ‘Global Health and Asia Pacific’ concerning the pandemic crisis, which has raised our awareness of the matters of ‘Global Health, Pandemics, and Geopolitics’ and ‘Equality, Equity, and Good Practices’. More health-related topics or concerns, e.g. Aging Care, welfare, or cultural healing, will be introduced in the near future.

*Do you have opinions or experiences in practice to share on global health matters? The topic can be health equality and equity, health and policies, health challenges, health concerns related to the social and physical environment, etc. It doesn’t matter if you are a scholar, a healthcare professional, a social worker, or a policy maker. We welcome you to join our conversations. If you are interested in starting a dialogue with us, please contact the principal author of this blog, Dr Cha-Hsuan Liu (c.liu@iias.nl). We look forward to exchanging views with each other.

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