How Globalisation Impacts Health (Positively and Negatively)

Globalisation is the process where political, cultural relations and social economic activities take a global scale despite the many consequences that it poses on individuals and all their local experiences. The ways many health factors are currently operated have been hanged by globalisation in the world that we live in today (Lee & Chang, 2012). The structure and the scale of human have been transformed by globalisation and many changes are currently evident in the health sector due to globalisation effect. All the social, political and economic processes of the human are now operating on a global scale and this has facilitated both the positive and negative impacts that are caused by globalisation to the human health. Globalisation is very much unpredictable and this factor leads to high instabilities and risks in the health sector. This paper discus both positive and negative impacts that links globalisation with the health of human beings.   

            In the past, globalisation was affected by increased deregulated trade, capital mobility and electronic communication that were on the rise, but currently it is perceived to be a more comprehensive phenomenon shaped by many factors (Van Meerhaeghe & G, 2012). Globalisation is shaped by more factors and events that are currently taking place in the global village. Factors like increased global forms of governance, the spread of technological advancement in the world and the  interlinked social activities have contributed to effects of globalisation to human health. This is an overarching process that encompasses various process that are in one way connected to health matters, thus contributing to the high impacts evident. Some factor characterises globalisation and health and they include; increased dissemination of ideas and technologies and the transformation taking place in the cultural as well as in the economic foundations. There are many dimensions that process the scale levels and link all the pathways that characterises the relationship between health and globalisation itself. Drivers in changes of disease evident in the world today are brought about by economic changes as well environmental domain that exists in regional, local and global levels worldwide. Many changes that occur in the social and the political arena are driven by globalisation and leads to high effects on health matters (Wittmann, 2014). Most of the improvements that are evident in the health of the improved countries are mostly vested in the environmental and social changes even though knowledge transfer plays a major role in this. Knowledge is very much applicable on the impacts of globalisation to health matters. There are many vast appliances apart from globalisation, which have together contributed to the high changes in the health determinants.

            Positive effects of globalisation to health

Use of knowledge and technologies

            One of the major effect that globalisation has caused to health is the spread of infectious disease which kills many innocent lives. Globalisation has led to many advantages that are associated with the health whereby; diffusion of knowledge has been on the rise in the world (Fard, Cheong, & Yap, 2014). Many health experts are carrying out research to find out the cure of certain disease that has resulted from globalisation effect. They are using high technology and knowledge which is very important in finding all that they require to cure such diseases (Davies & Holcombe, 2009). They are doing these many researches with the aim of finding the cure of deadly disease in the world, including cancerous disease, which have killed many lives in the recent past. Globalisation has led to all these technologies that are used in various labs in many parts of the world, leading to improved health care to patients both in hospitals and in special homes (Iguchi, 2012).

                  Irrigation technology

Globalisation has really affected the rainy pattern in many parts of the world. The irrigation technology is as a result of saving water crisis and drought in the whole globe. Deforestation that has been taking place in various parts of the globe has rendered many countries with no rain. Irrigation has come up as a result of globalisation tactic of saving human kind from dying of hunger. Crops are now growing under irrigation forms to help feed the population (Davies, 2013). Irrigation of crops is also influenced by use of technology to some extend since; if the process is not well done the human bodies will be affected by the food taken in their bodies. Chemicals that are applied to all then irrigated crops are well specified to avoid causing cancer once then food is taken inside human bodies (Daemane & Israel, 2014). All these actions are geared towards saving the health of the humans through what they take as food in side their bodies. Some chemicals once applied to food in the gardens affect the health of humans and this is then reason as to why they have to be prevented at all cost to save human health.

Sanitation improvements

            Globalisation has facilitated the improvement of sanitation; since, dirty environment and poor living leads to many health complications (Wertz, Odekova & Seaman, 2011). Sanitation improvement leads to economic development and pose great impact on human care that is secured in return (Cruz-Diloné, Thorn & Brownell, 2014). Globalisation has led to poor environment that is why all people are now advised to implement good sanitation and clean living to protect their health. Fruits are supposed to be cleaned before they ate eaten as a way of protecting one’s health (Sharma, 2013).

Free trade

Globalisation has contributed to free trade where people can access cheap food, which is also healthy for their bodies. Countries can trade with one another and get access to health food which is not infectious; since, it is screened. Globalisation has facilitated the availability of food through free trade, which is also very cheap and affordable to many people. Developing countries are in better positions of trading crops across their borders and this has led to a more open agricultural market place for cheaper food. Food prices change what people eat and at what time of the day.  

Negative health impacts of globalisation

Spread of infectious diseases

Globalisation has contributed negatively on matters to do with the health of the humans being because; their movement and that of the goods they carry facilitate spread of infectious disease. Goods that are transported from one part of the globe to another have to be screened for disease since they might not be clean for person’s consumption (Quinn & Martins, 2014). Condoms from one country to another might contain HIV virus and infect then people using them; hence they have to be well screened for their health safety. The outbreak of Ebola led to many realities in the world that could not easily be unravelled and were all as a result of the globalisation effect felt at that time. The ease of cross border travel has contributed to the outbreak of infectious disease, especially in developing countries in most parts of the continent. Stopping such a deadly and an infectious disease a lot of advanced health care is required to stop it from its source. Person of any calibre are also screened for any infectious disease because; if this act is not accrued out then the whole world will suffer from Ebola disease and other contagious illness. It is a requirement to most countries to screen their people accordingly to avoid spread of these infectious diseases across the globe. Interaction and integration of people lifestyle has contributed to spread of infectious diseases from one part of the globe to another within a very short period of time. Infectious diseases that have resulted from globalisation factor have led to many deaths and disability cases that were reported in various parts of the world (Suk, & Semenza, 2011). Research has proved that increased globalisation lead to changes in disease distribution and this is the reason as to why Ebola was proved to be deadly in West Africa. There are many unpredictable changes that are taking place in the ecological, social and biological conditions all as a result of globalisation effect. They cause bad impacts to human health in return and lead to many deaths. Evolution of deadly diseases has been as a result of globalisation effect, which is also associated with different geographical environmental setup (Ukpere, 2011). Many strains of disease development have been facilitated by this factor rendering many lives helpless. The bombing effect of Hiroshima and Nagasaki led to the loss of many lives while others were left with health problems that are felt to date. The epidemiology of infectious disease is affected by globalisation effect and the capacity to prevent the disease is lowered by globalisation as well. Resources that are connected with the prevention of infectious diseases are very delicate and ought to be handled with care to protect health matters (Ukpere & Slabbert, 2009). Prevention of infectious disease is a worthwhile strategy that ought to be well funded to make the whole process a success. A process like this will protect human health and ensure that the globalisation effect on health matters is under control. Then health in the globe is very devastating and security measures are now instilled in place as well as all economic impacts felt with the aim of reducing then impact of infectious diseases from globalisation. All the internal system has to be strengthened for the purpose of treating residents of a certain country and also prevent and control all infectious diseases arising. Actions required entail; strict border control to minimise spread of disease, patrol measures both in the borders and inside the country.  If a country is at a threat of contracting infectious disease, it is recommended for all its borders to be closed with an immediate effect.   

Unhealthy lifestyles

Globalisation has highly contributed to unhealthy lifestyle causing many people to be unhealthy. Cultural globalisation is a contributing factor to unhealthy lifestyles and this come as a result of global trade and marketing, which are the drivers of the economy. They type of food that is available in a certain locality is affected by globalisation and in turn affects the human health. The cost of the available food together with how it’s marketed contributes to what people eat and how much it affects their health status (Hawkes, 2007). The environment that surrounds where people are living contributes to their lifestyle either negatively or positively. All these effects are as a result of globalisation that impacts the health of humans. People neighborhood, their transportation systems and their elements of landscape influences how much active they keep their bodies on a daily basis. Health experts recommend that bodies’ should be exercised regularly to minimize unhealthy lifestyle that might contribute to healthy compilations in a person’s body (Ponthiere, 2011). The implementation of new technologies has changed what people used to do in their leisure, which is a very risky lifestyle. Cars and computers now make people to be very lazy to extend they don’t walk around anymore or even do the required exercise to their bodies. Lack of exercise is an unhealthy lifestyle; which has been contributed by the increased globalisation leading to bad effects to human health. People who spend much time in the computers tend to be obese and are at high risk of contracting diabetes illness and depression condition. People food is highly altered by free trade despite the fact that the trade brings all types of meals near them. Access to all type of food is not good because most people tend to eat junk foods that have much calories leading to bad effects of their health. The more high calories processed foods is what people tend to eat the most less do they know that they are affecting their health status. In developing countries, people who are a bit wealthier tend to be more obese compared to people who are not much wealth; since, they access and afford buying foods with more calories (Rich, 2012). However, these wealthier people have access to better medical care and quality education; hence, they can control their health complications easily compared to the poor. It has become a global concern on how people should struggle to reduce their weight because it is not a laughing matter, but a crying issue from the evident health complications in their bodies.         

Brain drain

Globalisation is a factor that has contributed to brain drain, which is now a big challenge for most of the developing countries; since they are suffering a huge loss of their learned population. These countries do not have enough funds to treat the illness and therefore they find it challenging to handle. Immigration has been taking place in various countries on the globe and this has contributed negatively to brain drain a serious health effect to citizens (Cozmei &Rusu, 2012). Brain drain is also termed as human capital flight and this happens where most of the educated people in a given country move to search for better jobs in other countries. The developing countries suffer the immigration effect that leads to brain drain in their countries due to lack of better jobs for their citizens (Jauhar & Yusoff, 2011). These countries find it hard to handle health matters of their citizens that could have been controlled by them who went to search for greener pastures in other parts of the globe. They suffer from qualified labour that can help save humanity health problems. They do not have what it takes to pay their qualified workers in the health sector; hence end up losing them to they who can sustain their needs. All this is due to globalisation that affects the health of developing country is in a negative manner.  


This paper discus both positive and negative impacts that links globalisation with the health of human beings. Globalisation is very much unpredictable and this factor leads to high instabilities and risks in the health sector. There are many positive impacts that are caused by globalisation to the health sector and include; the use of knowledge and technologies, irrigation technology, improvements on sanitation and the free trade. The negative effects of globalisation to health include; the spread of infectious diseases, unhealthy lifestyles and brain drain highly evident in developing countries.


Cozmei, C. & Rusu, M. 2012, “Brain drain and competitive advantage in the context of globalization”, Anuarul Institutului de Cercetari Economice “Gheorghe Zane” – Iasi, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 51-58.

Cruz-Diloné, P., Thorn, B.K. & Brownell, S.A. 2014, “A Life-Cycle Comparison of Selected Sanitation Alternatives for Developing Countries”, IIE Annual Conference.Proceedings, , pp. 2892-2901.

Daemane, M.M.M. & Israel, P.C. 2014, “The Analysis of Threats and Opportunities in Sustainable Irrigation Development in Lesotho”, Information Management and Business Review, vol. 6, no. 5, pp. 220-225

Davies, G. 2013, “Privatisation and De-globalisation of the Climate”, Carbon & Climate Law Review : CCLR, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 187-193.

Davies, J. & Holcombe, S. 2009, “Desert knowledge: integrating knowledge and development in arid and semi-arid drylands”, GeoJournal, vol. 74, no. 5, pp. 363-375

Fard, M.S., Cheong, K. & Yap, S. 2014, “Reopening the Debate on Globalisation and Economic Growth Through Technology Transfer”, Malaysian Journal of Economic Studies, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 231-247.

Hawkes, C., PhD. 2007, “Regulating Food Marketing to Young People Worldwide: Trends and Policy Drivers”, American Journal of Public Health, vol. 97, no. 11, pp. 1962-73.

Iguchi, C. 2012, “Globalisation of R&D by TNC subsidiaries: The case of South-East Asian countries”, Asian Business & Management, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 79-100

Jauhar, J. & Yusoff, Y.M. 2011, “Brain Drain: Propensity to Leave by Malaysian Professionals”, International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 119

Lee, C. & Chang, C. 2012, “Globalisation and Convergence of International Life Insurance Markets”, Geneva Papers on Risk & Insurance, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 125-154.

Ponthiere, G. 2011, “Mortality, Family and Lifestyles”, Journal of Family and Economic Issues, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 175-190.

Quinn, J.M. & Martins, N. 2014, “Fragile States, Infectious Disease and Health Security: The Case for Timor-Leste”, Journal of Human Security, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 14-31.

Rich, M.A. 2012, “Unhealthy Cities: Poverty, Race, and Place in America”, Contemporary Sociology, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 78-79.

Sharma, S.S.P. 2013, “Globalisation and Rural Development”, Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, vol. 68, no. 2, pp. 265-267.

Suk, J.E., M.Sc & Semenza, Jan C, PhD,M.P.H., M.S. 2011, “Future Infectious Disease Threats to Europe”, American Journal of Public Health, vol. 101, no. 11, pp. 2068-79.

Ukpere, W.I. & Slabbert, A.D. 2009, “A relationship between current globalisation, unemployment, inequality and poverty”, International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 37-46

Ukpere, W.I. 2011, “Globalisation and the challenges of unemployment, income inequality and poverty in Africa”, African Journal of Business Management, vol. 5, no. 15, pp. 6072-6084

Van Meerhaeghe, M.A. & , G. 2012, “Globalisation: concept, outcome, future–a continental view”, European Journal of Law and Economics, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 239-306.

Wertz, B.A., Odekova, A. & Seaman, M. 2011, “Building capacity with demand-driven partnerships: a case study of Partners for Water and Sanitation”, Environment, Development and Sustainability, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 19-33

Wittmann, V. 2014, “World society and globalisation”, Journal for Multicultural Education, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 194


RELATED: Leadership for Quality & Safety in Health Care