Infectious Diseases

Contagious and infectious diseases are not only a global health threat but an economic one as well.

Lack of prevention for diseases such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis (TB), as well as emerging infectious diseases such as Dengue fever and West Nile virus (WNV), can have detrimental effects especially for those living in developing nations.

One major solution to battling infectious diseases is to stop the issue before it starts. According to renowned physicians and global health consultants, David Heymann and Osman Dar, prevention is the key to fighting infectious diseases, both economically and efficiently.

According to the CDC, 21.8 million children do not receive typical vaccines, leaving them susceptible to deadly, infectious diseases. Additionally, about 70 percent of these children reside in only ten countries, including India, Nigeria and Mexico.

Preventative measures, such as vaccinations, protect not just the current generation but also future generations from contracting the same diseases. Diseases such as smallpox have been completely eradicated thanks to vaccinations and other diseases such as polio are fading from existence due to immunizations as well.

In many developing nations simple, preventative measures such as daily hygiene, safe sex, clean water and immunizations are sometimes ignored or inaccessible, even within the healthcare system. In addition, millions of patients across the globe are affected by healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs), much of which stems from a lack of handwashing and basic hygienic practices.

Global health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are establishing preventative care programs around the world, which includes WHO’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Unit.

IPC is a global WHO Service Delivery and Safety (SDS) Department meant to stress hand hygiene and other simple preventative measures between health care providers and their patients.

Ultimately, prevention is a strategy that saves millions of lives as well as millions of dollars and unlike simple multi-drug antidotes, which are expensive and often inaccessible, prevention saves future resources and generations.

Jenna Salisbury

Photo: Flickr