British Medical Bulletin   |  April 17, 2009

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Global health is of primary importance to human functioning and wellbeing. Yet the state of global health by many measures is dire. The dual burdens of infectious and chronic diseases among the world’s poorest people are enduring and intractable. Profound disparities in health and life expectancy between the rich and poor are wide and resistant to change. And all countries, rich and poor, are at risk of
pronounced health hazards due to growing globalization. The phenomenon of globalization, which can be understood as the ‘process of increasing economic, political and social interdependence and global integration that occurs as capital, traded goods, people, concepts, images, ideas and values diffuse across national boundaries’,1 is changing the way that states must protect and promote health in response to the growing number of health hazards that increasingly cross
national boundaries.

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