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Preventable diseases continue to claim thousands of lives each year in Africa, but leaders of state have taken a bold stand against this reality. An official pledge in January affirmed their commitment to realizing the goal of universal access to immunization by the year 2020.

African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma stated in a press release following the Addis Declaration on Immunization (ADI) summit: “With political support at the highest levels, we are closer than ever to ensuring that all children in Africa have an equal shot at a healthy and productive life.”

This announcement marks the continuation of ongoing efforts to provide immunizations to citizens of 40 separate countries by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. To date, Gavi has saved more than 4.5 million lives by providing vaccines.

“African leaders are making a sound economic investment in future generations,” Dr. Seth Berkley, the CEO of Gavi, said in response to the announcement.

Berkley’s comment is not figurative. According to a 2016 study by Johns Hopkins University, when factoring in quality of life and reduction in economic disease burdens, every one dollar invested by the U.S. in vaccination among the 94 poorest countries on Earth yields a staggering 44 dollars in returns. In those countries directly supported by Gavi, the figure rises even higher, to 48 dollars.

The extensive list of diseases prevented by such immunizations includes polio, whooping cough, tetanus, yellow fever, diarrhea, cervical cancers and the most deadly of all, measles. Due to its highly contagious nature, measles alone was the cause of nearly 40,000 deaths in Africa in 2013, based on a survey by the World Health Organization.

The African government is not alone in supporting immunization efforts for children. Africa United, a platform for raising awareness of global health issues, has enlisted star football athletes to provide public service adverts during this year’s Total Africa Cup of Nations tournament. “Football unites people from all across Africa and beyond,” stated Issa Hayatou, the President of the Confederation of African Football, the governing body of professional football for Africa. “Together we can help ensure millions of African children are immunized by 2020.”

Though great strides have been made during the past 15 years, approximately one in five young people in Africa still do not have access to vaccines that prevent these life-threatening diseases. This pledge may mark the first step in reducing that number to zero by providing universal access to immunization.

Dan Krajewski

Photo: Flickr

 Tuberculosis Regimens
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top ten causes of death worldwide and disproportionately affects the developing world. Though the number of TB deaths decreased from 2000 to 2015, it is responsible for more deaths than HIV and malaria combined. Over the past several years, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) has steadily risen. Approximately half a million cases of MDR-TB were reported in 2015. Resistance often develops secondary to patient non-compliance.

Given the complexity and duration of tuberculosis therapy, it is no surprise that many patients struggle to take the medications as directed. Initial first-line therapy consists of isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide and ethambutol. The four-drug regimen must be taken at least five times a week for eight weeks during the initial phase. Then, the patient must continue taking two medications for an additional 18 weeks.

Treatment failure can require eight months of retreatment. If drug resistance develops, treatment can take two years and has a high rate of failure.

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles have been working to develop new tuberculosis regimens that could boost the probability of treatment success. Using Parabolic Response Surface (PRS) technology, the team identified drug combinations with higher antimicrobial activity than the Standard Regimen of isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide and ethambutol.

PRS Regimen I includes clofazimine, ethambutol, prothionamide and pyrazinamide. For PRS Regimen II, bedaquiline is used instead of prothionamide.

So far, the new tuberculosis regimens have only been tested on mice, but the results are promising. Differences in efficacy, quantified by the number of colony-forming units, were statistically significant for both PRS regimen groups compared to the Standard Regimen control group.

For both of the new tuberculosis regimens, efficacy was dependent on the pyrazinamide dose. The bedaquiline dose also affected the efficacy of PRS Regimen II.

PRS Regimen I took 12 weeks to achieve 100% relapse-free cure while variations of PRS Regimen II achieved cure in three to four weeks. The Standard Regimen takes 16 weeks to achieve a relapse-free cure. Based on these results, a new tuberculosis regimens could reduce treatment duration by as much as 75%. Such a drastic reduction in length of therapy could facilitate better patient compliance.

The next step is to see whether or not the results in mice can be replicated in human beings. Given the rise of drug-resistant TB, successful treatment of human subjects with these new tuberculosis regimens would be a huge victory for global health.

Rebecca Yu

Photo: Flickr

Diseases in Cambodia
Despite their impressive economic growth in recent years, the impoverished, southeast Asian nation of Cambodia still struggles to treat diseases. The small country of 15 million, which lies between Thailand and Vietnam, has received very impactful aid from the U.S. for more than 50 years. Unfortunately, diseases in Cambodia can be detrimental to preventing and alleviating severe poverty.

High rates of malnutrition and extreme income inequality — not to mention a health system that crumbled during years of war — exacerbate many persistent public health issues, including a variety of menacing diseases. Here are some of the top diseases in Cambodia and what progress the government and health organizations have made in fighting them.

Malaria

Cambodia is tropical and rainy and dense jungles cover much of the countryside. With a monsoon season that can last five months, Cambodia has a climate and geography that are perfect for mosquito-borne diseases — including malaria. The parasite is still a major killer in Cambodia and threatens the lives of young children. According to the latest WHO statistics, malaria is among the top 10 causes of death for kids under five.

While malaria remains one of the top diseases in Cambodia, the government has partnered with WHO and USAID to make significant progress in the fight against malaria, creating better disease surveillance and preparedness and reaching patients who live in rural areas. Since 1999, malaria deaths in Cambodia have been cut in half by such efforts.

Epidemiologists are concerned with the sheer burden of malaria as well as the intense drug resistance that seems to always develop in western Cambodia. According to Science AAAS, since the 50s, the Pailin province near Cambodia’s border with Thailand has been ground zero for multiple-drug resistant strains of malaria. Such outbreaks have threatened the region and the global fight against malaria.

It is not clear exactly why Pailin is so prone to drug-resistance but a multitude of reasons have been suggested. The region’s dense Cardamom Mountains make providing quality healthcare a great challenge and many migrant workers travel through the area hoping to find precious rubies, going under the radar of health organizations.

Scientists are on the frontlines of understanding the latest strains of drug resistance in Cambodia, but controlling such illusive outbreaks will likely take a huge effort and cooperation on the part of Cambodia and its neighbors.

HIV/AIDS

Cambodia experienced one of Asia’s worst HIV epidemics in the 90s and continues to grapple with the disease today. AIDS killed as many as 3,300 Cambodians last year, according to UNAIDS, and upward of 82,000 live with HIV currently. It is not uncommon for marginalized Cambodians to turn to commercial sex and other high-risk behaviors, which may contribute to the spread of the disease.

Nonetheless, the government and aid organizations have made progress in containing HIV and providing affordable treatment to many Cambodians. Infection rates have fallen by more than 50% in the past decade and almost all HIV patients have access to proper treatment. “Voluntary and confidential HIV testing and counseling are widely available free of charge,” for Cambodians, according to a press statement by UNAIDS from 2014, and “people living with HIV have access to free antiretroviral therapy across the country.”

The government continues to work with aid organizations to prevent the disease and help sick patients more efficiently and effectively. According to USAID, in Cambodia it is still “crucial to improve the quality and coverage of HIV/AIDS services while reducing their costs.”

Tuberculosis

According to the most recent data from WHO, tuberculosis (TB) is the second leading cause of mortality in Cambodia. USAID reports that TB kills about 13,000 citizens annually. Likewise, Cambodia has one of the highest rates of incidence of the TB bacterium, which roughly two-thirds of the population is estimated to carry.

While these statistics may seem bleak, Cambodia has exhibited phenomenal successes in alleviating the scourge of tuberculosis. USAID reports supporting 271 community-based health centers across the country that have successfully diagnosed and treated a vast majority of the 10,000 cases so far. WHO reported that in the nine years between 2002 and 2011, massive grassroots programs that made TB treatment free and accessible halved the prevalence of TB in the country.

Malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are still some of the top diseases in Cambodia and pose real challenges for a country that is working hard to improve public health. But the success that Cambodia has exhibited in the fight against these diseases is a clear testament to what governments and international aid programs can achieve in the face of some of the world’s worst public health issues.

Charlie Tomb

Photo: Flickr

Top Diseases in Mexico
Diseases can prove very hard to prevent, control, and treat; and, many countries suffer from maladies that cannot be tamed. Mexico is no exception, and the top diseases in Mexico can inflict a great deal of damage. A summarization of each disease can be found below, including details on how the illness is transmitted and treated, the symptoms, and prevention tactics.

Top Diseases in Mexico

  1. Hepatitis A
    Hepatitis A can be spread via contaminated food or water or spread through person-to-person contact. A person-to-person transmission can occur when an infected person’s stool is ingested by a non-infected person through poor hygiene practices. Poor hygiene and sanitation practices are the results of letting half the country’s population live in abject poverty; without clean drinking water or sewage services, hepatitis A spreads easily and is now endemic to the population of Mexico. To clarify, if a disease is endemic that means the illness is regularly found among a population; for Mexico, hepatitis A is found throughout the entire country.
  2. Dengue Virus
    This virus is transmitted by mosquitos. Symptoms at the beginning of incubation of the virus include a sudden high fever, joint pain and headaches. Dengue is endemic to all of Mexico as well, except for the state of Baja California Norte and other areas of higher elevation because mosquitoes carrying the virus cannot survive at the higher elevations. Dengue may progress into dengue shock syndrome, a rare complication including a hemorrhagic fever, damage to lymph and blood vessels, bleeding from the nose and gums, enlargement of the liver, and even failure of the circulatory system, which can cause death. Taking aspirin accelerates the onset of symptoms of dengue shock syndrome, as aspirin thins the blood, so it is important to quickly ascertain that dengue is causing a patient’s symptoms before administering medication. Protection against contracting the dengue virus is easy: use bug spray, wear layers outdoors, and make sure bug screens in the home have no holes or tears for mosquitoes to fly through. Although seemingly simple, these precautions are monumental tasks for the poor of Mexico, who struggle to provide food for their families, let alone mosquito repellant.

Elevating the Impoverished

Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are more likely to disproportionately affect those in lower economic classes. The Baker Institute mentions that these diseases, also known as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), are widespread in Mexico’s poorest southern states such as Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Mayan villages on the outskirts of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Elevating the status and resource access of the impoverished in Mexico is an absolutely essential measure to alleviating the top diseases in Mexico.

Bayley McComb

Photo: CNN

Top Diseases in MadagascarMadagascar is the fourth-largest island in the world and has a population of nearly 24 million people. Madagascar also has a majority rural population of 16 million. Due to remoteness, many people become isolated during flooding seasons and can lose all contact with health facilities, thus the top diseases in Madagascar are more deadly than they may ordinarily be.

Here is an in-depth look at four of the most deadly diseases in Madagascar.

Bacterial Diarrhea

Diarrhea often hits tourists while visiting new places around the globe. Yet, most travelers do not fear for their lives when they are afflicted. Unfortunately, diarrhea is a much more serious issue for those who live without clean water or proper sanitation. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), diarrhea is the second leading killer of children under the age of five globally.

For those in Madagascar, lack of clean water and proper sanitation is a major cause of diarrhea, but there are cultural factors at work as well. Often, the Malagasy have been taught to believe that using an outhouse can cause miscarriages and that fecal matter does not belong in the ground where ancestors are buried. These beliefs only further instances of diarrhea-related death.

In order to dispel these myths, locals are being educated about the advantages of proper hygiene. This can even be done in the form of puppet shows for illiterate communities in Madagascar.

Lower Respiratory Infections

There are multiple causes of lower respiratory infections, but the WHO estimates that indoor and outdoor pollution is responsible for 18,700 deaths in Madagascar annually.

Indoor pollution is especially dangerous in Madagascar because many households still rely on solid fuel such as coal and wood for cooking and heating. In addition to the use of solid fuel, many houses in Madagascar are small and have poor ventilation which leads to higher exposure to pollutants.

The solution to this problem is to move away from solid fuels and increase education about the dangers of poor ventilation and inhaling pollutants.

Perinatal Conditions

Perinatal conditions are a killer in developing countries worldwide. These conditions occur just before or after birth and can affect both mothers and children. Low birth weight, prematurity, neonatal diseases, birth trauma and birth asphyxia are all perinatal causes of death and contribute to one of the top diseases in Madagascar.

Death from perinatal conditions tends to be easily avoidable, but many in developing countries lack the knowledge and resources necessary for prevention. In fact, according to UNICEF, 90% of the population of Madagascar lives on less than two dollars a day. This type of poverty often leads to malnutrition and most of the conditions mentioned above.

Potential solutions may include increased education of perinatal care, food aid and increasing the amount of neonatal care and supplies available.

Non-communicable Disease

In other words: cancer. Cancer is the most prevalent of the top diseases in Madagascar, and the most deadly. Of the types of cancer affecting Malagasies, cervical cancer is predominant.

Unfortunately, options for cancer treatment in Madagascar are limited. Very few hospitals have cancer wards and many farmers and unemployed citizens cannot afford the costly treatment for cancer.

One measure to fight cervical cancer in Madagascar has been taken. In 2008, the University of Washington School of Medicine put forth an education and screening program. This program was an effort to increase early detection so that there was a greater possibility of getting help.

As is the case with the top diseases in Madagascar, developing countries tend to be more susceptible because they may lack resources to fight them. Often, providing simple education or inexpensive medications can make a huge difference for those who have very little.

Weston Northrop
Photo: Flickr

Movies about EbolaFew people outside the medical community had heard of Ebola before the 2014 outbreak. However, as the threat spread rapidly, so did awareness and fear. Despite few references in pop culture and public awareness prior to the epidemic, the disease has been relevant for several decades. As a result, it has inspired various movies about Ebola.

Scientists discovered the first strain of Ebola in 1976, and the disease resurged in several relatively isolated outbreaks before the 2014 epidemic. Over the course of its history, the disease’s various strains had mortality rates fluctuating between 53 and 88 percent. The most recent strain was identified in 1994 after an ethologist contracted the disease during a necropsy on a dead chimpanzee. Despite this dramatic history, relatively few fact-based movies about Ebola exist. Regardless, Ebola has influenced the industry, inspiring both similar fictional diseases and more factual references.

The following films (both fiction and nonfiction) are related to Ebola.

1. The Fictional Comparison

The 1995 film “Outbreak” documents the course of a fictional disease from Africa to the U.S. and the controversial means used to eradicate it. While the disease, Motaba, is fictional, its highly infectious nature parallels that of Ebola. Despite key differences (Motaba is airborne) the film represents the extreme fear of incredibly contagious diseases with striking mortality rates. Among the largest similarities between and Ebola are the date and means of transmission. The movie premiered one year after the 1994 outbreak of Ebola, which reached humans via chimpanzee and represents the most recent strain of the disease. Meanwhile, the movie tracks the source of the resurgence of Motaba to a monkey in 1994.

2. The Movie Which Never Was

While the fictional approach to documenting Ebola-like terror made it to the big screens, a factual retelling of the Ebola epidemic did not. The writers of “Outbreak” adapted their story from Richard Preston’s book, “The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Ebola Virus.” However, in securing the adaption, “Outbreak” superseded the never-made “Crisis in the Hot Zone.” This film would have been a nonfiction portrayal based upon Preston’s more journalistic account of events.

3. Factual Mention, Fictional Interpretation

“Ebola 21” tells the story of Ebola’s role in terrorism. In the 2015 movie, domestic terrorists kidnap 21 people. They then infect one with Ebola (without his or her knowledge) and release the hostages back into the population.

4. Honoring Those Who Aided the Crisis

The upcoming film “93 Days” tells the story of the medical personnel who risked their lives to respond to the Ebola epidemic. The Nigerian film will premiere later this year. Despite the movie’s goals, some are concerned that it will not accurately portray the lives and work of those it honors.

5. Sparking Renewed Interest

With the intense fear accompanying the Ebola outbreak came a renewed interest in Hollywood’s many disease outbreak movies. Films like “Contagion” suddenly resurfaced on TV. Other movies about Ebola captured the public’s attention with stories of people using Ebola to wreak havoc. “Formula for Death” is a made-for-TV example of this storyline.

Ebola’s emergence in pop culture over the years represents decades-long historical origins. While the 2014 outbreak has killed thousands, incidences of Ebola had taken several hundred lives since the 1970s. The fact that movies about Ebola have veered more towards fiction than fact demonstrates the emotionally-charged nature of frightening diseases and their ability to capture the imagination. However, as the crisis has subsided, upcoming portrayals of the disease may add more realism to movies about Ebola.

Charlotte Bellomy

Photo: Pixabay

 Diseases in Angola
Life expectancy in Angola is estimated to be 53 years–almost 20 years lower than the world average. While the prevalence of HIV/AIDS within Angola is relatively low compared to other sub-Saharan African countries, there are a number of diseases in Angola that require continued international aid and attention:

Yellow Fever

The World Health Organization is currently planning to launch emergency vaccination campaigns against yellow fever in Angola in response to a vaccine shortage. The CDC has placed the current outbreak of the disease at level two out of three, which encourages the public to practice enhanced precautions. Those who have not been vaccinated against yellow fever are discouraged from visiting Angola.

Yellow fever is spread through mosquitos and develops three to six days following contact. The CDC reports that only 15 percent of those who are infected present serious symptoms. Yellow fever can also cause mild symptoms such as fever, headaches and nausea. However, severe cases of the illness can be fatal: it is estimated that 347 people have died due to yellow fever in Angola since December.

Malaria

Malaria is another disease spread via mosquitos. It is common in tropical regions throughout the world. Just as in most sub-Saharan African countries, malaria is widespread throughout Angola.

Symptoms of malaria include fever, nausea, vomiting and other flu-like symptoms. Severe or untreated malaria can lead to various health complications such as organ failure and even death.

Malaria causes almost half of under-five deaths in Angola, making it a major problem within the country. UNICEF has distributed 44,000 mosquito nets throughout Angola that have been effective in warding off the disease.

Typhoid Fever and Hepatitis A

Typhoid Fever and Hepatitis A are transmitted through contaminated food or water. In Angola, over nine million people do not have access to safe drinking water, which contributes to the prevalence of typhoid and other water-based illnesses. While these diseases are endemic to the country, those who travel to Angola should get vaccinated prior to entering Angola.

USAID and WaterAid are currently involved in Angola in an effort to increase safe water access. Through community and government level involvement, there is hope for a decrease in the prevalence of water-born diseases.

With continued support from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, USAID, WaterAid and the greater international community, the prevalence of these and other fatal diseases in Angola can be reduced significantly.

Saroja Koneru

Photo: Flickr

Global_Health
There are many inspiring and thought-provoking movies about global health that highlight the very real crises faced today. The following movies about global health explore some of the most dire issues, including women’s health, AIDS, polio, the right to safe drinking water and the realities of providing medical treatment in conflict situations.

  1. Blue Gold. Water shortages are a very real concern. Access to clean drinking water is also a dire problem in many parts of the world, and the demand for water only increases as the world’s population increases. Blue Gold considers the ramifications of this as corporations, governments and militaries try to control the water supply and people fight back for the right to clean water.
  2. A Closer Walk. The film examines the devastation wrought by AIDS throughout the world. A Closer Walk is narrated by Glenn Close and Will Smith, it explores the effects of AIDS in different regions, and what it means to live with and to fight against AIDS.
  3. Grace Under Fire. This is a notable film addressing the health issues women face globally, particularly in conflict areas. Grace Under Fire focuses on the regional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where half  a million women are reported to have been raped. Dr. Grace Kodindo, an advocate for women’s health and reproductive rights, is followed throughout this film as she talks to both medical professionals and regular people about the access to care for women in the DRC.
  4. Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders. Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders, gave film crews permission for the first time in this documentary to film the doctors as they work in conflict areas. Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders provides an intense look at what it is like to provide medical care in emergency situations where violence is always a threat.
  5. Last Child: The Global Race to End Polio. Although polio has long been eradicated in developed countries, the fight continues in countries such as India, Nigeria and Haiti. Last Child: The Global Race to End Polio highlights the significant strides that have been made thus far. It also addresses the obstacles health workers have faced in eradicating polio, raising the question of whether the disease could spread again.

Each of these movies about global health provides a thought-provoking look at one of the major health crises affecting our planet today.

Katherine Hamblen

Photo: Flickr

 Poverty in Cameroon
A recent trend in propositions to combat poverty in Cameroon has been to create more technical schools and training programs that will tailor education to more specific job fields. By so doing, recent graduates may find work as soon as they finish their education.

Like many African nations, Cameroon has a considerable number of natural resources and an untapped population of over 23 million people. The stagnation of economic potential has contributed heavily to increasing levels of national poverty in Cameroon.

Cameroon’s youth demographic consists of half of the population, thus representing a growing labor force that is a potential asset to the global market. However, the nation’s tertiary education system continues to emphasize traditional academic disciplines, leaving students unprepared to respond to economic change.

About 43 percent of Cameroon’s population has an incomplete or no formal education, and 67 percent of the working-age population has received no additional training at all. Unemployment is vastly higher among youth as compared to older demographics across all levels and types of education.

According to Cameroon’s Growth and Employment Strategic Paper, the government has proposed an investment program that essentially states the government will work closely with private industries that have the potential for significant growth and job creation. Such areas include tourism, communication technologies and infrastructure. Investments like these will hopefully boost the impact of human resources on the development of these industries’ productivity.

However, only so much can be done with the current number of schools in Cameroon. There are only two engineering and technology universities and two agriculture universities located in Buea (South West Cameroon) and Dschang (Western Cameroon).

This lack of availability of educational facilities not only hurts the economy, it is also detrimental to the nation’s healthcare system. The disease is a high contributor to death and poverty in Cameroon. In 2013, more than 10,000 people were diagnosed with malaria in the town of Maroua alone. Local newspapers estimated that about 1,000 people died as a result of the disease.

Furthermore, it is estimated there are two doctors for every 10,000 people in Cameroon. Many medical cases are handled by individuals who have inadequate medical training. With such a shortage of medical professionals, the accessibility of a medical education is prudent to maintaining and increasing economic development, which will help alleviate poverty in Cameroon.

Adequate funding is lacking to improve the healthcare situation, wherein 2014 there were an estimated 657,000 people with HIV/AIDS.

Cameroon has great potential; however, poverty still affects 40 percent of the population. Cameroon is looking to improve the status quo by creating more engineering, technology and medical schools to help future generations escape the cycle of poverty.

Veronica Ung-Kono

Photo: Flickr

Healthcare System in Cuba
On March 24, World TB Day, health organizations around the world united to raise public awareness for tuberculosis. Each year, successes are acknowledged and pitfalls addressed in the united goal towards the disease’s eradication.

This year, Cuba was honored as a global frontrunner, with 6.2 cases per 100,000 people per year, a record low in the developing world. The World Health Organization (WHO) plan presented the following Saturday, stating that Cuba’s low rate of incidence and high-quality preventative measures put it within reach of completely eliminating tuberculosis by 2035.

The plan, which was outlined by Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, lays out a pre-elimination phase for the next two decades. According to national health officials, a goal of zero-TB is possible for the Caribbean island if health the country focuses on vulnerable and elderly groups and addresses the speed of diagnosis.

Cuba’s success compared to its Latin American counterparts (the regional average of tuberculosis cases per year is 25 per 100,000) earmarks an impressive paradox: although infamous for being one of the region’s poorest countries, the healthcare system in Cuba has become one of the best in the world.

In her 2014 visit to Havana, Chan lauded Cuba’s exemplary healthcare as a “model for the world.” In a statement made to the Prensa Latina she noted, “Cuba is the only country that has a health care system closely linked to research and development. This is the way to go, because human health can only improve through innovation.”

With an infant mortality rate (IMR) of 4.63 in 2015—lower than the U.S. rate of 5.87—and an average life expectancy of 78 years, according to the World Factbook, it is no surprise that Cuban medical professionals are highly sought after, both domestically and internationally.

The country has been sending health professionals out into the developing world since 1963. There are currently over 30,000 Cuban health workers on missions in over 60 countries.

In 2015, for example, the country sent volunteers across Africa in a quick response to the worsening Ebola crisis. According to Jorge Delgado Bustillo, a Cuban epidemiologist who works with healthcare workers overseas, 12,000 Cuban medical experts volunteered during the Ebola outbreak, a number significantly higher than that of any other country in the world.

Cuba’s mandatory house-call check ups have proved effective in minimizing TB outbreak, while also maintaining basic health standards, preventing obesity and increasing average life expectancy.

Although one of the world’s poorest countries, the success of the healthcare system in Cuba demonstrates the effectiveness of prevention and personalized treatment, even while lacking ample resources and upgraded technology. Its accomplishments in the near eradication of one of the world’s deadliest diseases confirm its place as “healthcare model of the world.”

Nora Harless