What's the difference between Public Health and Global Health?

Public health and global health are two distinct but interconnected fields that aim to improve the health and well-being of populations. While both fields share a common goal of promoting and protecting public health, they differ in their scope and approach. 

In this blog post, we will explore the differences between public health and global health. 

What is public health? 

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities through research, education, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. It encompasses a range of activities aimed at preventing and managing health problems, from identifying and tracking diseases to developing and implementing public health policies and interventions. 

Public health focuses on the health of populations rather than individuals. It seeks to identify the underlying causes of health problems and address them through interventions that target entire communities or groups. Public health interventions can take many forms, from vaccination campaigns and disease screening programmes to tobacco control policies and environmental regulations. 

What is global health? 

Global health is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to improve the health and well-being of people worldwide, with a particular focus on developing countries and marginalised populations. It encompasses a broad range of issues related to health and development, including infectious diseases, nutrition, maternal and child health, mental health, and access to healthcare. 

Global health takes a holistic approach to addressing health issues, recognising that health is shaped by social, economic, and political factors as well as biological ones. It also acknowledges that health problems in one part of the world can have far-reaching effects on other parts of the world, and that addressing global health challenges requires collaboration and cooperation across national borders. 

Learn more about career options in the industry:

Careers in Global Public Health  🡪

Pursuing Maternal and Child Health Careers  🡪

Key differences between public health and global health 

  • Scope: Public health focuses on the health of populations within a specific geographic area, while global health is concerned with health issues that transcend national boundaries and affect people worldwide. 

  • Approach: Public health interventions are typically designed to address specific health problems within a community or population, while global health interventions aim to address broader health and development issues that affect multiple populations. 

  • Priorities: Public health priorities are often driven by local or national health needs, while global health priorities are shaped by the needs of developing countries and marginalised populations. 

  • Partnerships: Public health partnerships often involve collaboration between local health authorities and community organisations, while global health partnerships may involve international organisations, governments, and NGOs. 

  • Funding: Public health interventions are often funded through local or national health budgets, while global health interventions may rely on international aid and development assistance. 


Public health and global health are both essential fields that aim to promote and protect the health and well-being of populations. While they share a common goal, they differ in their scope, approach, priorities, partnerships, and funding. Understanding the differences between these two fields is important for developing effective strategies to address the health challenges facing our world today. 

A Global Public Health MSc is an excellent opportunity for those interested in understanding the differences between global health and public health. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the global health challenges affecting populations worldwide, as well as the public health interventions needed to address these challenges.  

Global public health is an excellent stepping stone if a career in health is something you are interested in pursuing. To learn more about the Msc in Global Public Health by Queen Mary University of London: 

Explore the MSc in Global Public Health  🡪

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