BMJ GH: Defining global health as public health somewhere else (9) Global Public Health as a Global Health Commons

27 January, 2020

I view global public health as a Global Health Commons, a place where a built health ecosystem operates. Both here and there are linked in physical, now digital, and ethical ways. The current coronavirus outbreak underscores the physical, the social media mix of good information and malicious false information underscores the digital, and our personal and collective decisions around what constitutes the scope of our work reflects the ethical.

The interconnections of health within the Global Health Commons are greater than ever and growing. This raises the need to examine the built health ecosystem in terms of who is trained for what, and where, what skills are developed for what needs, what needs (e.g. neglected diseases, poverty diseases) are to be addressed, how knowledge is shared, and when it is shared (e.g. proactive public health education and the radio reporter murdered in the DRC for broadcasting factual information about measles during a measles outbreak).

We need an evidence based and ethical approach to a health ecosystem that is built on an understanding of a Global Health Commons. To build it we need broad stakeholder engagement in strategy and health and political leadership that, in addition to integrity, has hope, courage and determination.

Sam Lanfranco

HIFA profile: Sam Lanfranco is Professor Emeritus & Senior Scholar at York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. . He was formerly chair of the Canadian Society for International Health, and runs the health promotion list CLICK4HP. Lanfran AT