How to Improve Global Health
Think about how much of an issue health care is here in the United States. Then think about how, although not perfect, the majority of us have access to even basic healthcare and the right to go to a hospital if we need care.
In third world countries, the idea of healthcare and regularly scheduled doctors’ visits is almost non-existent. Even where healthcare does exist, there are not enough healthcare workers compared to the ratio of people. It is time to take action in thinking about the effects of poor healthcare and how to improve global health overall.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 60 countries currently have less than 23 health workers for every 10,000 people. Worse yet, 13 developing countries have less than one hospital per million people, a staggering figure that seems impossible but is a reality in these countries. These ratios are expected to get even worse in 2045 when the world’s population is projected to exceed 9 billion. It is clear that the time to implement initiatives to improve global health is now.
Although it is extremely important that there are an adequate number of healthcare workers and doctors in relation to the population that they serve, it is critical to advocate behavioral changes. Diseases and conditions such as HIV, obesity and malnutrition can be fought in part by simply taking the time to educate people on the importance of self-awareness, safety and proper sanitation.
Spending is another component of improving global health. Although the number of pandemic outbreaks such as SARS and Ebola has been increasing, the World Bank projects that less than a third of the $3.4 billion needed to maintain a strong (not excellent) pandemic preparedness system has been committed. Also, according to the World Health Organization, donor countries have only spent $3 billion of the $6 billion needed to maintain the health of the public globally.
In order to improve global health, the WHO sums it up best when it says that the main areas of focus are health systems, non-communicable diseases, communicable diseases, corporate services and preparedness. If the emphasis, time, effort and money can be placed on these areas of health, then the world will be well on its way to improving the global health of the public.
– Drusilla Gibbs
Sources: Time, Clinton Foundation, WHO, APA
Photo: Global Health