'Global health' has been defied by scholars, which is often confused with public health or international health.
In a commentary, Dr. Jeffrey Koplan and colleagues from the Consortium of Universities for Global Health have defined global health and discuss what it means for global health to be genuinely global.
"The global in global health refers to the scope of problems, not their location. Global health has to embrace the full breadth of important health threats," the authors say.
They claimed that such threats vary widely and include issues, such as climate change, epidemic infectious diseases, tobacco control, obesity and migrant-worker health-among many other issues.
They also said that the complexity of mitigating health threats needed a multi-disciplinary approach and genuine partnerships, a pooling of experience and knowledge, between and among developing and developed countries.
In the commentary, the authors argued that without an established definition, important differences in philosophy, strategies and priorities among physicians, researchers, funders, media and the public might be hidden.
Also, the authors said that unless global health is clearly defined, "we cannot possibly reach agreement about what we are trying to achieve, what approaches we must take, the skills that are needed, and the ways that we should use resources."
Thus, based on historic, semantic and practical considerations, the authors have offered the following definition of global health.
"Global health is an area for study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. Global health emphasizes transnational health issues, determinants, and solutions; involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration; and is a synthesis of population-based prevention with individual-level clinical care," they said.
The commentary has been published in the Lancet.