Views & Reviews The Bigger Picture

International health is a misnomer

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 02 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4167
  1. Mary E Black, director of public health, London
  1. drmaryblack{at}

What does “international health” actually mean? If you are in, say, Uganda, the health system you work in and the population you serve is definitely local, unless you happen to be working as an adviser or a clinician from the United Kingdom. In that case, your work is packaged as “international health.” The other difference will be in your salary; despite talk of south-south collaboration and pay parity in the development industry, international health salaries remain many times higher than local salaries.

What may not differ are your skills, expertise, and training. I continue to be amazed at how many …

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