Global Health Governance at a Crossroads

Nora Y. Ng and Jennifer Prah Ruger

This review takes stock of the global health governance (GHG) literature. We address the transition from international health governance (IHG) to global health governance, identify major actors, and explain some challenges and successes in GHG. We analyze the framing of health as national security, human security, human rights, and global public good, and the implications of these various frames. We also establish and examine from the literature GHG’s major themes and issues, which include: 1) persistent GHG problems; 2) different approaches to tackling health challenges (vertical, horizontal, and diagonal); 3) health’s multisectoral connections; 4) neoliberalism and the global economy; 5) the framing of health (e.g. as a security issue, as a foreign policy issue, as a human rights issue, and as a global public good); 6) global health inequalities; 7) local and country ownership and capacity; 8 ) international law in GHG; and 9) research gaps in GHG. We find that decades-old challenges in GHG persist and GHG needs a new way forward. A framework called shared health governance offers promise.