Within contemporary society, globalization has emerged as a key concern at the centre of ethical, legal and policy debates relating to health care. Conflicts between public interests and individual rights, the challenge of regulating health professionals and access to health services, and the effects of a global market all feature prominently in these discussions. As a result of globalization, these issues can no longer be understood solely within the political boundaries that define traditional notions of individuals and communities. Rather, solutions demand a global conception of rights and obligations, which in turn requires new approaches to health policy formulation and a reevaluation of existing ethical and legal frameworks. In essence, the impact of globalization on human health is testing the robustness of modern regulatory systems, legal doctrines and ethical paradigms. PUBLIC HEALTH: DEVELOPING GLOBAL CONCERNS The interconnectedness of the global economy presents new challenges in public health. While globalization has facilitated improvements in health care, it has also created new hazards and avenues for the exploitation of vulnerable persons. It is becoming increasingly apparent that both national and international responses are required. Indeed, as the chapters in this section convey, public health is rightly a global concern. Globalization has led to a sharing of both risks and responsibilities in public health. Belinda Bennett reminds us of the ease with which infectious diseases can spread within the global community, given the speed of modern travel and trade.
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