Beyond COVID 19

Global Health in the spotlight

A Special Issue of RBPI - Volume 64 - N. 2 - 2021

The field of Global Health has grown in part in response to the need to generate better sustained political and trade demands for more concerted international responses. In this sense, pressing global health challenges have transcended national borders and, due to their centrality to human and societal wellbeing, it has also been increasingly deployed as a tool for accomplishing multiple ends in global politics, whether in foreign policy, in foreign aid, or warfare.

The political structure of contemporary global health governance unfolds diverse dynamics and multidimensional processes with a wide range of actors, shedding light on new reconfigurations of health's international political economy. Concurrently, there has been a meaningful increase in international diplomatic coordination around health, especially in response to global threats (such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, Ebola, Zika virus congenital syndrome, and, more recently, the COVID-19). This can be seen in the way that cardinal international multilateral institutions – from the United Nations General Assembly, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO) – have converged on seeking to tackle many more global health issues also influenced by significant political and institutional dysfunctions.

The maxim "pathogens do not recognize borders" also requires a critical view of international cooperation in the field of health, delving into changes of States' foreign policies in the field of health, the power dynamics in international organizations, and the inter-relations among health, trade, migrations, and human rights. These topics showcase how the study of global health is increasingly providing new outlooks on some of the core assumptions and debates within IR discipline. In this regard, power asymmetries in the international sphere can offer explanations about why the spotlights are on certain diseases and not others as well as the role of transnational companies in the global epidemics of noncommunicable diseases, planetary health, security studies, HIV/AIDS politics, access to essential drugs, neglected diseases, and gender issues within the global health agenda.

The dimension reached by Covid-19 indicates that the field of global health is at a turning point, more visible than ever. The experts' predictions that a pandemic of devastating effects would occur were confirmed. All attention was turned to WHO, which has become the subject of domestic politics in some of its member states. Although the organization has experienced constant crises in recent decades, it is now being attacked with unprecedented intensity. New leaderships, alliances and agendas are likely to rival existing organizations. Investments in global health programs and the security agenda are likely to increase. To understand the impact of the pandemic on international relations, we must remember that the field of global health is broader and more complex than the Covid-19.

Therefore, this issue aims to raise awareness of global health debates and the reconfiguration of preexisting ideological, geopolitical, and methodological queries in the international realm. Hence, promising methodological and epistemological paths can be explored.

This special issue seeks further contributions on the following topics:

1. corporate influence, philanthrocapitalism, and global health governance;

2. planetary health, sustainability, and its dynamics on global politics;

3. changes in the concepts, approaches, and practices within global health diplomacy;

4. sexual, reproductive, maternal health, mental health and rights in conflict and post-conflict areas;

5. health, aid, crisis, and development;

6. global health security: recurring and emerging issues;

7. law, norms, and human rights in global health;

8. the politics of the health policy process: from global to local.

Deisy Ventura (Full Professor of Ethics at the School of Public Health of the University of São Paulo and president of the Brazilian Association of International Relations) and Danielle Rached (Professor at the Law School of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, Rio de Janeiro) will edit the volume. All submissions should be original and unpublished, must be written in English, including an abstract which does not exceed 60 words (and 4-6 keywords in English), and follow the Chicago System. They must be in the range of 8,000 words (including title, abstract, bibliographic references, and keywords). RBPI general author’s guidelines can be found here. Submissions must be done at (Online Submissions).

Articles can be submitted until September 30th, 2021. As a result of the collapse of public funding for the Brazilian scientific journals, especially those granted by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, RBPI had to start charging processing fees for articles approved for publication. The RBPI charges an article publication fee payable by authors whose articles are approved for publication, which is used exclusively to cover the costs of the editorial production services. Authors are encouraged to seek support from their institutions for the full or partial payment of publication fees. RBPI maintains a policy of partial waiver for publication fees, upon the availability of funds, reserved exclusively for doctoral students who prove that they do not have support from their Graduate Studies Programs to cover full or partial payment of the fees.

RBPI is published exclusively online at Scielo (, following the continuous publication model. This model gives faster publication for authors and faster access for readers because the articles are published online at the very moment their editorial production is finished. The first segment will be released in January 2022.