Globalisation, EU policies and the impact on the Dutch Health System

The following text is an excerpt from a background note entitled: Globalisation, EU policies and the impact on the Dutch Health System, written by Remco van de Pas, global health advocate from Stichting Wemos, The Netherlands. The background document was used to inform a debate on 09 April on globalisation and the Dutch health system, organized by Wemos and the Netherlands Public Health Federation. Click here for the full background document.

[…] Many of the health problems that governments confront today transcend national borders and are part of a complex web of interdependence. The separation between domestic and foreign policy agendas has become blurred, and the new geopolitical constellations significantly affect the role and position of many countries in the European Region – indeed of Europe as a whole – in the global arena. Parts of Europe are becoming considerably poorer and have to make hard choices about health and health systems. To resolve these problems, health ministries find themselves working at several levels, with overlapping networks of actors with competing agendas, both at home and abroad. In the critical situation of economic downturn, it has become obvious that health ministries do not have much bargaining power. In an interdependent world, the economic effects of health and health security on other sectors and the whole of society are becoming increasingly evident and may even change the societal approach to health. As health issues affect other stakeholders negatively, they will increasingly call for governance and institutions that can respond and deliver a more efficient health system and improved health security. A recent example is the damage to the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan. The threat to human health being is the main factor in the international debate about controlling atomic energy (Kickbusch, 2012). […]