Globalization and effects on healthy and lifestyle of developing world: comparison between Brazil and Malawi
Globalization is often mentioned topic in all the discussions surrounding the contemporary issues in affecting the world. There is no doubt that globalisation is set to stay and will continue to affect the world in all fronts, including health as one of the major areas of concern. Due to the rapid proliferation and technological advancement, especially in spheres like transportation, communication, as well as means of production, globalization is having profound effects on the world’s healthy (Lifschitz, 2011). The well-being of people around the world has become a major challenge, with arguments indicating positive and adverse effects. However, developing countries are experiencing the substantial effects of globalization, and with these, come the debate exploring both the negative and positive effects of globalization on the health of the developing countries (Kavinya, 2014). On the international level, globalisation is being seen as having positive impacts on health through the increased lifespan levels, even in the developing world. Through advancement in technology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases have been enhanced. On the other hand, globalisation is blamed for increased inaccessibility to health care, spread of non-communicable diseases due to unhealthy lifestyles. Hence, the subsequent discussion compares the positive and negative effects of globalisation on the developing world with a cross-reference contrast of the situation in Malawi and Brazil.
Brazil is one of the developing and emerging economies that are experiencing a positive or upward surge in health care improvement, especially with increased globalisation. Currently, the great extent of investment in technology, hospitals, research and person-centre care, teaching, training are all attributed to globalisation in Brazil (G¢mez, 2011). The country shows that globalisation has had a positive influence on the advancement of health care among the developing countries and as such, improving the quality of health and life in these countries. For example, Sao Paulo is now considered as the largest city in South America and also serves as the neuralgic business centre and as such, regarded as the medicine capital of the region. Sao Paolo is currently the epicentre of international medical travel with its offering of quality medical procedures and world-recognised medical practices at lower prices. Apparently, the city receives around 12 million visitors on a yearly basis, attracting around 72, 000 annual conferences and events on health and medical advancement (Lifschitz, 2011). Through such interactions, (brought about by globalisation), it is evident that Brazil’s capital, Sao Paulo now has high quality, safety, medical procedures as well as world-known surgeons in different areas of medicine. Therefore, with the transfer of knowledge, expertise, and equipment to the developing world due to globalisation, it is evident that the phenomenon has improved quality of health through better treatment and as such, positive health outcomes.
On the country, Africa countries like Malawi lists among the developing world that is currently feeling the negative effects of globalization. The United Kingdom is often cited as the solid and hard evidence indicating the adverse effects and implications of globalisation in health among developing nations. As a colonial power of most of the developing world, the country attracts a higher percentage of immigrant workers, especially nurse immigrants have become the most common type or composition of the migrants. For example, Africa has witnessed a positive trend in the immigration of its qualified nurses to the UK, especially in Malawi (Kavinya, 2014). The UK has the strongest education as well as an established network of immigrants that has made the country a major and considerate destination for most of the nurses and medical practitioners from Malawi. An example is cited about the situation in the 2000s when a larger majority of nurses from Malawi inflowing to the UK due to poor working conditions. In this sense, the country lost a significant amount of its health care workforce (Kavinya, 2014). Shortage of nurses led to the government recruiting unqualified nurses and in return, quality of healthy was rcompromised due to lack of experienced nurses and as such, has been a negative impact on Malawi. The situation shows that through globalisation, there has been the immigration of skilled health care and medical workforce into the developing world thereby creating a situation of shortage of workers and as such, leading to reduced or inadequate health care.
Globalisation is characterised by increased interactions among countries with international policies and regulations introduced to standardize practices. In this case, countries have benchmarked criteria for their professional practices thereby improving quality and satisfaction in all professions (Lifschitz, 2011). Accordingly, Brazil is a country that had been left out in most of the global or standardized approaches in practice. At the international levels, there are regulations controlling prices of medicine and equipment. However, in the past, Brazil had a controversial approach to accessing necessary drugs like HIV medicine, especially the generic versions of the medicine produced within the country (G¢mez, 2011). By joining the World Trade Organisation, the country was able to collaborate with other international pharmaceutical companies and from this, developed its version of the pharmaceuticals in the country. In this case, it is evident that globalisation has led to the influx of international investments in the medical sector, including workforce(expertise) that has aided in improving health care quality in Brazil. The situation shows the positive impact that globalisation has had on the health of developing countries, especially the influx of experienced medical practitioners in these countries on improving the practice.
In contrasting Brazil to other developing countries like Malawi, the adverse effects of globalisation on the health of the developing countries are evident from the manner in which the phenomenon has resulted in increased inequality in the accessibility of medical development or progress. Kavinya (2014) suggests that, in Malawi, the health care sector has continued to grow, but this has also led to a significant increment in the economic restrictions. For instance, the pressures on public expenditure, due to the structural adjustment of the country due to loans, and the increased prices for the new medical equipment caused by stringent international property rights rules have compromised health in developing countries like Malawi (Kavinya, 2014). In this case, it can be maintained that for the developing countries like Malawi, the incessant developments or advancement in the area of medical technology and stringent property rights is impeding them from accessing advanced medical equipment to address the disease challenges that have also advanced with globalisation, especially those caused by cross-border movements.
Malawi serves as a benchmarked case study for comparing the adverse effects of globalisation in health among the developing nations. The country’s health problems revolve around lifestyle diseases, especially from alcohol and drug abuse. However, these substances or elements have been spread through globalisation, especially cigarettes, drugs, human trafficking and the sale of counterfeit medicine (Kavinya, 2014). All of these elements have negative consequences and implications on the health of individuals. In exploring the increased rates of non-communicable diseases in Africa, Wang et al. (2015) used Malawi as a case study, and through a longitudinal household healthy survey, around 1199 households within three rural districts in Malawi were interviewed. In this study, they reported that the expenditure on non-communicable diseases has increased in Malawi. In this sense, easy transfer of goods and services has made alcohol and other drugs to infiltrate the developing countries thereby resulting in serious health implications. Another study focused on exploring the adverse effects of globalisation on the increase cases of Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS rates in Malawi with the findings that the diseases have become a burden in poverty stricken areas (rural districts) (Kanyerere et al., 2016). As such, the communicable diseases have also increased through greater movement of people around the globe. Africa lacks the incentives to fight such diseases, and with the prevalent of movement of individuals into the continent, more lives are put in danger and as such, a confirmation that globalisation has hurt the health of the developing countries.
Finally, globalisation has had a significant impact on the lives of individuals, especially through health care and lifestyle choices. Brazil is an emerging economy that has seen a surge in the adoption of technology and from this, it the country is enjoying the benefits concerning easy accessibility of information (Lifschitz, 2011). Brazil has a larger percentage of the citizens using the internet and other technological devices to communicate. Through this increased levels of communication, accessing health care information has become much easier in comparison to other developing countries like Malawi. From this, individual citizens are in the position to make better life choices when it comes to eating habits and personal health management. Non-communicable diseases contribute to the highest mortality rates in Brazil. However, the government has considered interventions that rely on health care promotion and awareness programs specifically designed us make use of information communication technology to reach out to the people (Borgia, 2016). In this sense, with increased accessibility to information among the developing countries, globalisation is responsible for the growing inclination towards healthy lifestyles and as such, responsible for improved health. In Brazil, the government, through Ministry of health has integrated ICT in reaching out to both urban and rural populations with the awareness programs on the prevention of non-communicable diseases.
In a nutshell, the comparison shows some of the positive and negative effects of globalisation in the developing world. In Brazil for instance, the phenomenon is responsible for the improvements in the practice, better equipment, expertise and more advancement that has put Sao Paulo as a the medicine hub of the region. Brazil has also standardized its practices and incentives in the health care sector and medicine while equally important is how information technology is being used by the government to evoke healthy lifestyles among the citizens. On the other hand, Malawi experiences the negative implications of globalisation on health, especially the immigration of its health care workers to developed countries like the UK, increased exchanged of goods like alcohol and drugs that influence unhealthy lifestyles and finally, inadequate accessibility to health care resources. In this sense, globalisation has both positive and negative effects on health of the developing world but if properly addressed, it has prospects for improving quality of life in these countries.
- Borgia, S.A., 2016. Prevalent non-communicable diseases across Brazil: Risk factors, prevention, and future goals. Clinical Social Work and Health Intervention, 7(4), pp.62-66.
- G¢mez, E. J. 2011. How Brazil outpaced the United States when it came to AIDS: The politics of civic infiltration, reputation, and strategic internationalization. Journal of Health Politics, Policy & Law, 36(2), pp. 317-352.
- Kanyerere, H., Harries, A., Tayler-Smith, K., Jahn, A, Zachariah, R., Chimbwandira, F. and Mpunga, J. 2016. The rise and fall of tuberculosis in Malawi: associations with HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 21(1), pp. 101-107.
- Kavinya, T. 2014. Globalization and its effects on the overall health situation of Malawi. Malawi Medical Journal, 26(1), 27.
- Lifschitz, A. 2011. Brazil and Healthcare Globalisation. Viewed from http://www.medicaltourismmag.com/brazil-and-healthcare-globalization/
- Wang, Q., Fu, A, Brenner, S., Kalmus, O., Banda, H., and De Allegri, M. 2015. Out-of-pocket expenditure on chronic non-communicable diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Rural Malawi. Plos ONE, 10(1), pp. 1-15.
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