An Introduction to Health Policy

Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition characterized by the absence of infirmity and sickness lasting for more than six months. A number of definitions have also been used over time to define health. One definition is that good health is the ability to enjoy life and work productively, at the same time free from serious risks. Another definition says that good health is maintained through proper nutrition and active recreation. It also includes psychological, social, and environmental aspects.


There are three major international frameworks developed to describe and measure health: the National Health Information Management System (N HIMMS), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IACR) and the Global Burden of Disease (GBD). These frameworks were developed to provide a worldwide approach to health issues and diseases. The N HIMMS defines health as “the absence of serious disease”. I ACR defines it as “the proportion of deaths due to a range of diseases” and the GBD as “the burden of disease.” In addition, there are numerous other approaches to describe and measure health, including the physiological state of health, the behavior of health, quality of health, life expectancy and many others. Health can be affected by natural causes like climate, food and water, but in most cases a combination of these factors, along with lifestyle choices, cause health issues.

It is important to take into consideration all the possible ways that illness or disease may affect us. When we start to get sick, we can fall prey to a range of illness and diseases that may result in a shorter life expectancy. Therefore, the primary aim of a health policy is to ensure that we live longer and take better care of ourselves so that we are able to contribute positively towards achieving optimal levels of health globally. Health policies can either focus on individual health, or on the community as a whole.