Diseases in India
India is a sub-continent in Southern Asia that boasts the second largest population in the world following China, with roughly 17 percent of the world’s population. India plays a vital role in multiple international organizations including the U.N., World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While India has sustained large economic growth—up to 10 percent annually—and a GDP amounting to roughly $1.6 billion, not everyone has reaped the benefits of these feats. India ranks as one of the poorest nations in the world with approximately 68.8 percent of its citizens living in poverty—that is over 800 million people. A life of poverty for these citizens hastens the spread of diseases that inevitably lead to chronic impairment or death. These are the top eight diseases in India.

Top 8 Diseases in India

  1. Ischemic Heart Disease – Commonly referred to as coronary artery disease (CAD), this condition is the number one cause of death in India. Independent groups such as the Indian Heart Association work to raise awareness of the issue through cardiac screenings and informational sessions. Indian dietary habits can be poor with many foods involving butter, grease and fatty foods. This is especially true for poorer segments of the population where this type of food is cheaper and easily accessible. From 2007 to 2017, there was an approximate 49.8 percent increase in the number of deaths in India caused by ischemic heart disease.
  2. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – People primarily contract this disease through smoking, second-hand smoking and fume inhalation. Roughly 30 million Indians suffer from a moderate or severe form of COPD. Early detection of COPD can lead to successful treatment and survival of the patient. Factory pollution in India is rampant and the use of cigarettes is all too common, especially among poorer sections of the population. The impoverished have limited access to medical clinics with 56 percent of the population lacking health care, and thus, unable to get adequate treatment for COPD.
  3. Diarrheal Diseases – Diarrheal diseases account for a significant portion of childhood mortality in India. It is the third leading cause of childhood mortality and studies have correlated this to hygiene, malnutrition, improper sanitation and an impoverished upbringing. A lack of affordable care and education for families will lead to further prominence of diarrheal diseases in Indian society. Currently, the U.S. Agency for International Development is working to implement effective and affordable solutions to counteract sanitary related diseases in India.
  4. Lower Respiratory Infections – Respiratory infections such as influenza, pneumonia and bronchitis are all diseases that harm lung function in the body. Indians are extremely susceptible to these due to the high concentration of air pollution throughout the country, especially in poor rural and urban areas. In 2018, 14 out of 15 of the most polluted cities in the world were in India according to the World Health Organization. Further, air pollution also led to roughly 1.24 million deaths in India over the course of 2015.
  5. Tuberculosis – In 2016, there were 2.8 million reported cases of TB and about 450,000 deaths. This disease is rampant among the impoverished in India because there is not a sufficient amount of clinics and professionals to resolve the issue. The vaccine for tuberculosis is not accessible for Indians in the poor parts of the nation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to eradicate tuberculosis by 2025. Through a $1 million partnership with USAID, India hopes to strengthen the detection and treatment of tuberculosis.
  6. Neonatal Disorders – While incidences of neonatal disorders in India have decreased from 52 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 28 per 1,000 in 2013, this is not an indicator of sustainable progression in India. The truth of the matter is that neonatal decline simply boosted the infant mortality rate because of a brief time-lapse in the survival of the newborn. In India, one can attribute neonatal deaths to asphyxia, pneumonia, sepsis, meningitis, tetanus and an array of other preterm abnormalities. Further, studies show that there is an inverse correlation between socioeconomic status and neonatal deaths. In impoverished rural parts of the country, the neonatal mortality rate is 31 per 1,000 live births whereas it is 15 per 1,000 live births in urban parts of the nation.
  7. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) – Contrary to popular belief, CKD impacts lower-income countries as well as developed ones. In more developed countries, individuals are able to get access to life-saving treatments. Lower-income nations and portions of nations do not share the same luxury. Scientists predict that there will be 7.63 million deaths from CKD in India in 2020; this is up from the 3.78 million CKD deaths in 1990. The poor in India do not have the finances to receive transplants or the means to attend a reputable hospital.
  8. Tumors – Accounting for 9.4 percent of deaths in India, tumors are the product of pathogens and the buildup of harmful germs in the human body. While not extremely common, these tumors are affecting young and middle-age individuals at an alarming rate. Tumors are also root identifiers of cancer. In the last 26 years, the cancer rate in India has doubled and caused significant economic loss, exemplified by a $6.7 billion loss in 2012. Breast cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer and oral cancer are extremely prominent in the nation. The costs of treatment are not attainable for all of the affected and thus cause an increase in mortality. India aims to increase the number of physicians and centers for treatment and research through a $20 million initiative. Nongovernmental organizations are also working to raise awareness and supporting early detection methods across the nation.

Since its independence in 1947, India became one of the strongest nations on the planet. With an unprecedented economic boom, India is an emerging global superpower. Despite India’s successes, it is still lagging behind many western countries in its accessibility to medicine, medical facilities and equal wealth distribution.

The top eight diseases in India are pressing problems the nation can resolve through adequate reform. While the situation may appear hopeless, India is taking strides forward to ensure that each citizen lives a prosperous and meaningful life. Technological advances such as new surgical techniques and radiotherapy equipment continue to help counteract malignant tumors and potent cancers. Furthermore, the Indian government has enacted the National Clean Air Plan to reduce air pollution by 20 to 30 percent by 2024. This has prompted individual cities throughout the nation to limit their carbon output through the use of more efficient technologies and stricter regulations. India can continue to thrive as a global economic power while working to resolve its internal problems.

– Jai Shah
Photo: Flickr

Healthcare in PeruPeru, known for being the home of Machu Picchu, has a population of 27.9 million people. Though currently experiencing an economic boom, the nation remains faced with a variety of other struggles, one of which is healthcare in Peru.

In comparison to the global life expectancy of 71.4 years, as reported by the World Health Organization, the average lifetimes of both male and female citizens in Peru are high, reported at 73 and 78 years respectively. Despite this high life expectancy, the country still loses many people each year due to struggles with health. Below are five things to know about healthcare in Peru.

  1. Peru spends 5.5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on its health. The global average spent on health, as reported by the World Bank in 2014, was 9.92 percent. When compared to this average, the public expenditure on healthcare in Peru pales in comparison. However, the percent of its GDP that Peru spends on its health is still higher than the average that its neighboring countries spend, which is 5.12 percent.
  2. Lower respiratory infection is the leading cause of death in Peru. This cause was number one as reported in 2005 and remained number one in 2016. It was one of two leading causes that are communicable. Lower respiratory infections kill more men than women in Peru, though for both sexes, the infections peak at age 80 and above.
  3. Road injuries are among the top 10 causes of death in Peru when considering overall death rates as well as premature death rates. Despite the fact that it is one of Peru’s leading causes of death and disability, it is still below the mean in comparison to a group of countries chosen considering the Global Burden of Disease regional classifications.
  4. The amount of healthcare workers in Peru has been increasing. Though the country normally has an issue with its retention of employees in the healthcare field, it is still an increasing trend. There are five separate entities that provide healthcare to Peru’s entire population. The Ministry of Health is the biggest contributor to improving healthcare in Peru by providing healthcare to 60 percent of the country’s population.
  5. Access to healthcare in Peru has improved by 23.7 in the last 25 years. The Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) Index reported that in 1990, Peru’s HAQ Index was 45.9 out of the best possible index of 66.7, whereas in 2015 the country’s HAQ Index was 69.6 out of a best possible index of 76.8. The best possible index is determined by a country’s development.

Though the country’s people have a higher life expectancy at birth when compared to the global average, there are still many issues regarding healthcare in Peru. Despite these issues, the increase in the number of healthcare workers and the constantly increasing access to healthcare in Peru demonstrate progress for the country’s health.

– Haley Rogers

Photo: Flickr

Diseases in Ethiopia
Despite being one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia still suffers from structural and economic problems. The deadliest diseases in Ethiopia are often preventable. However, a lack of resources can make them difficult to prevent or treat. Here are the top three deadliest diseases in Ethiopia:

1. Lower Respiratory Infections

Lower respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, are the number one cause of death in Ethiopia. This infection accounts for 10 percent of deaths each year. Acute respiratory infections, which are typically shorter term but when untreated can lead to death, are especially common. On average, Ethiopian children suffer from four to eight infections each year. Undernutrition is a culprit in the high rate of infections in Ethiopia. In a study, the World Health Organization found that in Ethiopia, 42 percent of children hospitalized for pneumonia had a severe vitamin D deficiency. Improving access to nutrients is key to reducing infections, since undernutrition increases the severity and prevalence of lower respiratory infections.

2. Diarrheal Diseases

Ethiopia has one of the highest rates of rotavirus, the most common cause of severe diarrhea around the world. Diarrheal diseases cause eight percent of deaths in Ethiopia each year. They are also a leading killer of children, causing 14 percent of deaths in children under five. Diarrheal diseases can sometimes be treated with rehydration tablets. However, they are more easily prevented through improvements in sanitation and water and access to the rotavirus vaccine.

3. HIV

HIV/AIDS is one of the deadliest diseases in Ethiopia. It accounts for seven percent of deaths each year and has led to a seven-year decrease in life expectancy. One of the greatest issues in Ethiopia is passing of the disease during birth. There are approximately 90,000 HIV-positive pregnant women. This results in around 14,000 HIV-positive births and 800,000 orphans due to the disease annually. In order to combat this, the government has been pushing to increase partner and family counseling programs that work to educate and reduce transmissions to pregnant women. Progress has been made, as HIV testing and partner counseling has increased in recent years from 13 percent to 51 percent.

Despite the deadliest diseases in Ethiopia being easily preventable, they remain widespread. That said, recent increases in resources and support show promising progress in combating and halting the spread of these diseases in Ethiopia.

Alexi Worley

Photo: Flickr