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Battling Disease: The World’s Leading Killer

Battling DiseaseOne of the world’s leading killers can be found, not down the barrel of a gun, but within our bodies. Preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases and malaria have succeeded in wiping out millions of people worldwide. But with advancements in medicine and technology on our side, prioritizing vaccinations and other preventative measures has never been more crucial. Organizations such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are taking on the role of battling disease and ending these epidemics.

According to a recent study by WHO, HIV-related deaths are still amongst the top ten leading causes of death in the world, killing on average 1.5 million people in 2012. Additionally, diseases such as malaria, although easily curable, remain a massive threat, especially to developing nations such as Southeast Asia and Africa.

In 2015, 214 million new cases of malaria were transmitted worldwide. Young children below the age of five are especially vulnerable to this disease. In the same year, approximately 306,000 children died from malaria, 292,000 of which were from Africa.

However, while such diseases remain at large, great measures are being taken not only to cure, but to prevent these global killers from winning. In regards to the malaria epidemic, one of the Millennium Development Goals, known as “target C,” is currently working on reducing malaria transmission, successfully battling disease and decreasing spread by 75 percent. Moreover, WHO’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 is working to reduce malaria mortality rates by 90 percent, as well as eradicating the disease in 35 countries.

Other leading killer diseases can be prevented through basic hygienic practices, such as diarrheal diseases and dysentery. Yet, about 2.2 million people die from diarrhea, most of whom are children in developing countries that lack sufficient sanitary irrigation. However, sanitation efforts and campaigns supported by WHO, CDC, the U.N. and similar global non profits all work on bringing filtration and sanitary water accessibility to developing nations.

All in all, while disease should be recognized as a major threat, it is only as powerful as the measures taken to prevent and cure it. Global health organizations continue to instill sanitary and other preventable practices in nations to battle disease, in the hopes of ending these global killers.

Jenna Salisbury

Photo: Flickr