With the growing scope of globalization, national health systems become more intricately related. The emerging connections and interdependencies change the entire global health promotion and disease prevention landscape. On the one hand, globalization empowers countries and nations to leverage global resources as part of their health promotion activities. On the other hand, the most serious threats to community and public health readily cross the boundaries of one state and translate into a global issue. Zambia runs one of the least developed healthcare systems in the world. The rates of mortality in the country beat all records. The U.S. government runs the Global Health Initiative for Zambia, which is aimed at increasing healthcare services utilization, while reducing the existing disparities in the provision of medical and nursing care. The USAID supports continuous improvements in the Zambian national health system, which should create a baseline for achieving sustained reductions in the rates of mortality across all population groups.
Global health systems have already become a buzzword in the study of healthcare improvements. Much has been written and said about the dramatic disparities in accessing and delivering high-quality nursing care. It is through the study of global health systems that such disparities become more visible and pronounced. As a result, nurses have better chances to address the existing inequities. According to Skolnik, global health systems have profound effects on the state of health and wellness in different countries. One reason for that is that, as the world is shrinking, many diseases readily spread to affect several countries and even continents. The severity of the central global health challenges is further reinforced by the existing local health disparities. At a global scale, reviewing the link between health and state development is much easier. This being said, global health systems provide a unique opportunity for the analysis of national health issues and the development of strategies to inform subsequent improvements in the national health systems, including those in Zambia.
In the study of health and wellness in Zambia, global health systems play one of the primary roles. Compared with other countries of the globe, Zambia lags behind the developed world in terms of promoting health and preventing disease. In 1996, almost 650 women in Zambia died of postpartum complications per every 100,000 live births. By 2002, that number further increased to reach unprecedented 729 deaths per 100,000 live births. In the meantime, the number of young mothers dying of obstetric complications in neighboring Namibia did not exceed 370 per 100,000 live births. In this context, global health systems offer an insight into the latest data concerning maternal morbidity in Zambia. They also suggest that the primary causes of maternal death in the country are no different than in the western world – excessive bleeding is the crucial challenge encountered by nurses working with obstetric patients. However, compared with other countries, maternal deaths in Zambia are also driven by other factors such as obstructed labor, infections, as well as unsafe abortion outcomes. Yet, these are not the only causes underlying high levels of mortality in Zambia.
The existing health disparities make it particularly difficult for other health systems to provide valid resources and reduce the incidence and prevalence of mortality in Zambia. Socioeconomic variations behind individuals' health behaviors are too powerful to be ignored. Phiri and Atakuba confirm that socioeconomic inequities in accessing and utilizing available healthcare services continue to persist. Many young patients have poor or no access to at least the basic medical services. Thousands of Zambians live in rural provinces, which make it particularly problematic for them to access the existing health centers.
High costs of care are another problem for Zambians. At a global scale, the price most Zambians must pay for medical services is rather low. However, given the economic difficulties facing most Zambians in the 21st century, it comes as no surprise that most of them cannot afford paying their medical bills. Simultaneously, while globalization changes the global cultural space, Zambia remains particularly committed to its semi-tribal medical traditions. Many postpartum women die of the issues and health complications that are easily treatable and preventable in the developed world. This is probably why the United States and other countries engage in a concerted effort to help Zambia overcome the existing barriers to quality medical care, while sharing the existing material and human resources to help the local population improve the quality and accessibility of primary medical services.
At present, the healthcare system in Zambia is financed from several different sources, which include public taxes, direct payments from patients and households, and donor grants. Government-financed healthcare services are delivered at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. The country has developed a distinct healthcare philosophy, which incorporates the unique features of the global and local health systems. This philosophy has ultimately translated into a comprehensive Vision 2030, which guarantees equitable and equal access to the basic health services across all population groups. The discussed philosophy also gave rise to numerous policies that would facilitate access to health care among the poorest population layers. Yet, even these initiatives have not resulted in any tangible improvements. Today, the growing emphasis on globalization and global health systems promises to enhance the health care utilization potential in Zambia.
The analysis of global health systems is particularly helpful in identifying and addressing Zambia's unique health needs. The nature of many global health concerns and the need for different actors to work together to address them are more reasons why we should be concerned with global health. Although locally relevant solutions are needed to address most health problems, some health issues can only be solved using a global approach.
This is exactly the case of Zambia, which has recently witnessed the implementation of global health initiatives to improve the state of health and health systems in the country. Global health initiatives have the potential to influence and advocate for better quality care. In the past 10 years, the world has seen the emerging popularity of global health initiatives. They are intended to facilitate the global control over the most prevalent communicable diseases, as well as leverage enormous financial, material, and human resources to improve national and local health system and patient outcomes. In Zambia, the implementation of the U.S.'s Global Health Initiative holds the greatest potential to incorporate sustainable improvements into the national healthcare system. The promised advantages of the global program are two-fold. On the one hand, it provides resources and support required to reduce the rates of mortality in Zambia. On the other hand, it functions as an opportunity to improve health and wellness in other neighboring countries. Beyond reducing the scope of communicable diseases, the Global Health Initiative turns Zambia into a role model other African countries may want to follow.
The focus of the Global Health Initiative is on reducing maternal mortality and the rates of mortality among infants younger than five years old. The discussed initiative expects to achieve the intended results, by promoting effective use of available maternal and child health care services and reinforcing the presence of qualified human resources to ensure high quality of healthcare delivery in Zambia. The Global Health Initiative is a product of a collaborative effort that involves the two countries. It emphasizes the advantages of the emerging global health improvement frameworks and implies that, globally, countries, governments, and health systems have better opportunities to meet their public health priorities by leveraging each others' comparative administrative, financial, and infrastructure advantages. In other words, countries come together in a collective effort to relieve the burden of health inequities in Zambia.
Other efforts have been in place to improve the quality and efficiency of the Zambian healthcare system. The USAID works to strengthen the country's system of health care as a foundation for pursuing better health outcomes. Additionally, the USAID launches new programs to empower local residents to use available health and disease prevention opportunities more actively. The organization implements broad policy frameworks to encourage and sustain positive health behaviors in Zambians. The effectiveness of all these initiatives is yet to be determined. Apparently, the process of achieving the desirable health goals will not be fast. At the same time, globalization has a potential to attract new donors and add to the pool of resources that are available to Zambia in terms of health care.
As a conclusion, Zambia presents one of the greatest global health challenges. Despite the recent advances in medicine, the rates of maternal and infant mortality in the country remain particularly high. Health inequities are at the heart of the discussed issues. Globalization holds a promise to improve the healthcare situation in Zambia, by attracting global donors and allowing them to leverage available global resources. Such resources will be particularly helpful at alleviating the burden of healthcare inequities in Zambia and pursuing better health outcomes.