Global Health Issues
Global health issues affecting undeveloped countries have long been on the radar in the public eye, due to numerous infomercials and televised awareness campaigns to raise money for people in poor countries so that they have access to food, water, and healthcare. These awareness campaigns often report on millions of people in undeveloped countries dying due to the lack of resources and healthcare (Shah, 2011). This is an inequity in life that still exists in many parts of the world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that almost 80 percent of noncommunicable disease deaths occur in lower income countries. In 2008, it is reported that 57 million people, globally, died from noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, lung, and cardiovasular diseases, and about 25 percent of these deaths were people under 60 years of age. In addition, it is stated that improved healthcare, detecting diseases early, and getting people treated in time would result in a reduction of these deaths (WHO, 2010).
Scope of the Problem
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, disease and death in undeveloped countries continues to rise inspite of new medical technologies and improved conditions in sanitation, nutrition, housing, and education. This is not just related to noncommunicable diseases; infectious diseases such as malaria, AIDS, SARS, the flu, and tuberculosis are also culprits and much of these occur in developing countries (CFR, 2013). The scope of this problem involves factors such as environmental health, maternal and child health, nutrition, ethics, and human rights issues.
As it relates to environmental health, global health issues are often caused or made worse by negative environmental impacts such as pollution and health hazards caused by a lack in adequate sanitation of waste and water supplies. Satisfactory maternal and child health is affected by lack of resources, education, and healthcare access. Nutrition issues stem from low or non-existent food sources and little access to healthy food choices. In addition, ethics and human rights issues are related to all of the above. There is an unfair disparity in access to basic human necessities such as food, water, and healthcare, in undeveloped countries, and this speaks to a lack of ethics on the part of developed countries as well as of the governments of the undeveloped countries.
Solutions to the Problem
As mentioned, improvements in healthcare access, early detection, and timely interventions are keys to eliminating much of the problems surrounding global health issues. However, most developing countries depend on health system funds from donors, which is not always reliable. Many developing countries receive up to 40 percent of their financial help from donor funds; however, there are times when the developing countries’ governments reduce their resource allocation, by up to 43 percent, to their needy when receiving assistance for health from other countries. Furthermore, many health systems in developing countries are undermined because of a shortage of healthcare professionals (less than 2.3 per thousand people), and this causes disparities in delivery of care (CFR, 2013).
Unfortunately, it seems that there really is no immediate solution to the problem of global health issues, as long as obstacles such as governments blocking needed help from their countries and issues with poverty, sanitation, nutrition, education, and access exists. Poverty is the main cause of many global health issues. Poorer countries are often victims of the wealthy such as powerful pharmaceutical companies which is an example of a human cause, due to politics. Not all causes are natural causes. Addressing the problem of global health issues, therefore, is more a matter of social, ethical, and political factors that need to be changed before the world sees a reduction in unnecessary poverty, diseases, and deaths.
CFR. (2013, June 6). The Global Health Regime. Retrieved from Council on Foreign Relations: http://www.cfr.org/health-science-and-technology/global-health-regime/p22763
Shah, A. (2011, September 12). Global Health Overview. Retrieved from Global Issues: http://www.globalissues.org/article/588/global-health-overview
WHO. (2010). Global status report on noncommunicable diseases. World Health Organization.