Necessity When States act with selfish intentions and

of Non-State Actors

Current approaches to global health are
reflective of the values that drive international relations. Many factors play
into how leaders make decisions, two of which are economic and political. These
factors contribute to the growing complexity of global health today. In
addition, global health has also become more complicated due to the many actors
who now have influence over what Fidler calls “the source code” (7). Actors are
both State and non-State and have various levels of influence. By looking back
on early initiatives taken by governments, it can be argued that States are ineffective
in improving global health as they do not set it as a top priority. Instead, non-State
actors must lead the way.

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The World Health Organization’s Constitution
describes health as “one of the fundamental rights of every human being”. Despite
the definition’s clear emphasis on humanity in health care, many current health
policies and world leaders do not reflect this value. Even if global health
goals are collectively set by many countries, individual countries may not attempt
to meet them. One reason for this is because government decisions regarding
health are often based on economic and political interests (Fidler, 9). According
to Szlezák et al., “the
rules that govern trade in goods, services, and investment reach more deeply
into national regulatory and health systems” (1). Health decisions are not
made solely based on humanitarian reasons, rather they involve other factors
that often push health to the side. Global health is used as another “playing
card” for political leaders to use in international negotiations.

When States act with selfish intentions and
are consequently inefficient in addressing global health issues, non-State
actors are needed. Non-State actors do not have the same resources or global
power that some governments do, but like Bill and Melinda Gates have shown,
money can generate a lot of power in global health. A benefit to having private
organizations lead the way in global health is that they can have a singular
focus to give health the attention it needs and deserves. This is not to say
States should not have a role in global health, as they still have capabilities
private organizations lack, but governments should not be the primary actors. Ideally,
governments would spearhead initiatives since they tend to be well equipped
with resources, but their focus is not on health alone. States are not fit to
be sole leaders in health, but should still share some responsibilities with
non-State actors.

Globalization brought with it ideas, people,
and goods, but it also changed what States believed to be important. Economic
and political gain became a major driving force for actions and has since
clouded healthcare initiatives. Governments have appropriate resources, time,
and operations needed for health initiatives, but unfortunately,
they often choose to use them on other things that will bring them more global
power, more money, or that will help their own country’s people. As global
health is growing in complexity, the roles of international actors need to
shift to adapt to the changing global scene. This means a greater dependence on
non-State actors for global health advancements.