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Global Health

The modern world is the globalized human society with the common economy, policy, cultural as well as moral values, and strategies for its further development. At the same time, each nation has its own approaches to solving economic, political, cultural, and other problems; however, all these approaches should not contradict the major principle of the global market economy. It has become a policy on the further development of human civilization irrespective of economic or social conditions in any country of the modern world. In this context, the health status of the population plays a crucial role impacting on the economic, political, and social development not only of the certain country but also of the whole world. Health protection has become an integral part of the foreign policy aimed at preventing epidemics and strengthening international relations for the sake of the further development of human civilization. The health policy of each state has become a part of globalization in which there are reliable links between individuals, communities, and countries.

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In the article “Global Health Diplomacy: The New Recognition of Health in Foreign Policy,” Ilona Kickbusch and Christian Erk (2009) state that health of each individual constitutes health of the whole nation, and health of each nation state constitutes health of human civilization. Therefore, the health status of the whole population of the certain nation state should be monitored and analyzed by the diplomatic service of each modern country. Both authors claim that each individual has the right to health; therefore, health has become a global virtue which every country should save and protect (Kickbusch & Erk, 2009). Moreover, they define macro, middle, and micro level conditions impacting on health determinants of each nation state to specify the policy direction of diplomatic services. Kickbusch and Erk (2009) claim that the social, economic, political, and cultural development of any nation state depends, first of all, on the health status of each individual – the lower health status, the weaker country. 

The authors state that the most effective way to protect and improve national health standards is “to adopt a ‘Health in all Policies (HiaP)’ approach and understand health as a shared value which spans all societal sectors” (Kickbusch & Erk, 2009, p. 518). This initiative invites all countries of the European Union to design a plan for the development of HiaP. In addition, the authors believe that all countries should collaborate to prevent as well as overcome different international health problems (Kickbusch & Erk, 2009). For example, such dangerous diseases as Avian flu has spread throughout many countries. Any local epidemic could become global if nation states fail to unite their efforts in order to overcome the disaster. Therefore, humanity should “understand health as a global public good (GPG) which all countries are responsible for producing, sustaining, and protecting from material harm” (Kickbusch & Erk, 2009, p. 519). Moreover, the authors consider measures aimed at promoting global health protection to be investments in national security and health protection of each individual. Only international cooperation can manage to eliminate health risks, and diplomatic services should play a crucial role in creating reliable contacts with various non-governmental organizations, scientists, public activists, the mass media, and even individuals concerned about health problems in the host country. Therefore, any national diplomacy should monitor the health status in the host country to develop the global health policy as it is defined in the 2007 Oslo Ministerial Declaration. Nowadays, the foreign policy turns into a global health protection strategy aimed at promoting further cooperation of nation states and combining their efforts to improve the health status of all people.

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Ilona Kickbusch and Christian Erk focus on health as the major virtue of the new democratic society in the globalized world. The individual right to health should become the highest priority in domestic, foreign, economic, social, and global aspects of the political life of the whole human society as it is stated in the initiative “Health in all Policies.” Therefore, the diplomatic service should turn into a part of the global health strategy and establish reliable links between societies of host countries and its native land. As a matter of fact, it is a major virtue of democracy when the society protects rights of each person, improving the health status through diplomatic methods. As an argument, the authors mention such international initiative as “Health in all Policies” and the Oslo Ministerial Declaration, determining the further direction of international diplomacy and world’s foreign affairs administrations. Of course, it will not only improve the global health status but also enforce international relations between countries and protect each individual as a citizen of the world. Therefore, the major reason for writing the article was to exhort all countries to unite their efforts in order to eliminate health risks and problems in the modern world. All diplomats should create reliable links between their home countries, societies, and concerned individuals in host countries. The main thesis of the article is that health of each individual is the global virtue that needs to be protected by all means, and the diplomatic service should play a crucial role in this strategy.

Both authors do their best to persuade their audience to monitor the health status of host countries and promote health as the global virtue. Unfortunately, they do not explain how the diplomatic service should execute this mission, for instance, to create links with non-governmental organizations in host countries. It is unclear what diplomats should do. Should they give lectures or provide any advisory opinions in host countries? It seems that any embassy can open some offices like the British Council all over the world with diplomats, social workers, and certain medical experts who will consult both individuals and medical workers in host countries. Unfortunately, the authors do not give any piece of advice on how to improve the diplomatic service according to the challenges of the modern world. Therefore, the article is just an attempt to convince European diplomatic services to develop a certain strategy without giving any positive examples or effective suggestions about how they should act and what results they can achieve. At the same time, the whole article is worth noticing for the further development and improvement of the diplomatic service. 

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The two prominent Swiss scholars, Ilona Kickbusch and Christian Erk, attract the attention of their audience to the new approach towards tasks of the diplomatic service. They consider health to be the global virtue and believe that diplomatic services should create reliable links between their governments and non-governmental organizations as well as attract individuals in host countries. Their article is very informative because it persuades the audience to cherish and protect the health of each individual in order to ensure respect for personal rights and freedoms in any democratic society. Unfortunately, both authors do not give any helpful advice on how to improve the diplomatic service, and the article just encourages people to protect and promote health. At the same time, their point of view deserves to be studied for the further development of new approaches and strategies for improving diplomatic services according to the challenges of the modern world.