HEALTH PROBLEMS FROM
The seamy side of globalization –
26 April, 2007: Nations, especially
world’s top economies which benefit
from globalization, must face its
One of the main harmful effects of
globalization is the health hazards
especially the people of the developed
nations face, according to new report
issued by the World Health
The report was released to coincide
with World Health Day, celebrated
every year on April 7, the anniversary
of the World Health Organisation’s
founding in 1948.
The theme of this year’s World Health
Day was ‘Invest in Health, Build a
There are a growing number of health
problems linked to the increasing
number of people and goods crossing
the borders every day, because
diseases cross the borders in people
and goods, Ian Simpson, a spokesman
for WHO, said in Singapore. Simpson,
who was attending a conference in
connection with the World Health Day,
suggested that countries need
international health security to
An international health security
report just released by the World
Health Organisation lists the
following priorities for the agency in
- The threat posed by emerging
infectious diseases, such as
influenza and the severe acute
respiratory syndrome (SARS).
- The easier spread of disease
around the globe because of the
movement of people and tainted goods
as part of the global economy.
- The need to manage better
international health disasters, such
as tsunamis and earthquakes.
- Awareness of biological and
chemical terror threats.
- The effects of global warming.
Ian Simpson said there has been a
growing risk of spread of diseases
during the last decade as global trade
has shot up. Along with greater access
to commercial goods has come the
potential to transport tainted food
products, illegal black market goods,
as well as diseases carried by people
as they travel.
The two events that spurred this
year’s theme of the World Health Day
are the SARS epidemic in 2003 and the
increasing possibility of an
international flu pandemic.
* The SARS epidemic started in the
fall of 2002 in China, killing nearly
800 people worldwide, most of them in
Asia, before subsiding the following
summer. While its spread was
prevented, it served as a wake-up call
about the emerging threat of such
infectious diseases, Ian Simpson said.
These global concerns are very
different from the international
issues that motivated the founders of
the United Nations to establish World
Health Organisation after World War
II, Simpson said. When WHO was
created, like all the other United
Nations agencies, people were very
concerned about securing world peace
and, as part of that, improving the
health of people around the world.
That a person could be in Singapore at
11 o’clock in the evening and then be
in London the next day was an
impossibility in 1948.
As a part of its new focus on
cooperation between countries on
health threats, WHO has revised its
international regulations so that
nations can identify health problems
as early as possible and seek the help
they need from governments, other
countries and the private sector. The
regulations will be effective from
June 15, 2007. stressed.