The World Health Organization (WHO) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been instrumental in helping many countries to fight different kinds of diseases through resource mobilization and capacity building initiatives. However, the globalization of economies, coupled with the extensive international commerce and travels between countries, has forced both the developed and the developing countries to view health from the global perspective (Packard, 2016). Today, barely a week passes without headlines talking of the emergence or re-emergence of an infectious disease in a particular country.
Despite the efforts being put in place by both the WHO and the NGOs to ensure the successful execution of various global health programs, they have been hindered by numerous complex challenges and barriers. Some of the challenges to international health programs include funding, where the WHO has to depend on the goodwill of developed nations such as the United States of America, Britain, and China (Wainberg et al., 2017). Currently, the U.S. A has threatened to withdraw its annual funding to the organization, blaming it for mishandling the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, the WHO may be forced to reduce its spending due to the likelihood of losing one of its key funders (Fletcher, 2020). In terms of dissemination, many foreign medical providers often find it difficult to effect global health programs because they failed to involve the local doctors fully.
The consequences of the above actions are that the international doctors start struggling with the unfamiliar cultural norms and the difficulty of communicating the global healthcare initiatives to the society, especially in developing countries. One of the past successful global health programs which have positively impacted my life as a healthcare professional was the successful development of the meningitis vaccine in Burkina Faso named MACV in 2010 (Sacks et al., 2017). The vaccine was a great accomplishment because it helped to eliminate the disease in the country—the project resulted from the collaboration between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Burkina Faso government. Through the program, I have learned the importance of the local communities’ involvement, local doctors they trust, and foreign doctors in undertaking any global healthcare program.
Barriers to Improving Health Behavior
Health behavior change entails the volitional, motivational, and action-based procedure an individual adopts to end practices that compromise their well-being in favor of implementing those that enhance excellent ones. Examples of unhealthy activities that may pose a risk to one’s health may include smoking and excessive alcohol consumption (Hamilton, van Dongen, & Hagger, 2020). Most studies have depicted the family as a critical component, if not most important, when it comes to shaping a person’s health behaviors and attitudes (Chen, Brody, & Miller, 2017). The revelation is encouraging as positive health practices have always had an immense impact on the mental and physical well-being of the body system.
The establishment of strong family ties may be the key to enhancing positive among the members. According to (Fadlon & Nielsen, 2019), numerous studies have acknowledged the fact that family ties of parenthood and marriage are mostly linked with insignificant risk behaviors and positive, healthy activities. One of the ways families influence one of the members’ health is through direct and indirect control mechanisms (Miller et al., 2018). Specifically, strong ties between people from the same family help to indirectly motivate everyone to only engage in activities that maintain better health.
Family members may also decide to directly involve themselves in one of the member’s health by physically implementing specific behaviors. For example, the family may decide to prepare a special diet, adopt an exercise regime, or in some instances, apply social sanctions such as withholding of allowances (Hamilton et al., 2020). Various international studies indicate that parents’ close involvement in their children’s’ life is effective in shaping one’s behavior.
Chen, E., Brody, G. H., & Miller, G. E. (2017). Childhood close family relationships and health. American Psychologist, 72(6), 555.
Fadlon, I., & Nielsen, T. H. (2019). Family health behaviors. American Economic Review, 109(9), 3162–91.
Hamilton, K., van Dongen, A., & Hagger, M. S. (2020). An extended theory of planned behavior for parent-for-child health behaviors: A meta-analysis. Health Psychology, 39(10), 863.
Miller, A. L., Gearhardt, A. N., Fredericks, E. M., Katz, B., Shapiro, L. F., Holden, K.,. Lumeng, J. C. (2018). Targeting self-regulation to promote health behaviors in children. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 101, 71–81.
Fletcher, E. (2020). United States appears to walk back on threats to withdraw from the World Health Organization—Calls for countries to adopt ‘roadmap for reform.’ Health Policy Watch. Web.
Packard, R. M. (2016). A history of global health: Interventions into the lives of other peoples. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Sacks, E., Swanson, R. C., Schensul, J. J., Gleave, A., Shelley, K. D., Were, M. K., Chowdhury, A. M., LeBan, K., & Perry, H. B. (2017). Community involvement in health systems strengthening to improve Global Health outcomes: A review of guidelines and potential roles. International Quarterly of Community Health Education, 37(3–4), 139–149.
Wainberg, M. L., Scorza, P., Shultz, J. M., Helpman, L., Mootz, J. J., Johnson, K. A., Neria, Y., Bradford, J.-M. E., Oquendo, M. A., & Arbuckle, M. R. (2017). Challenges and opportunities in global mental health: A research-to-practice perspective. Current Psychiatry Reports, 19(5), 28.