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10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Denmark
Despite being in the European Union and a member of the more “modernized” West, Denmark has one of the lowest life expectancy rates compared to other western nations. Despite the seemingly sad news, there is a glimmer of hope where the average Danish life expectancy is concerned; almost all of the factors that have led to the life expectancy rate to decline are from preventable causes and lifestyle choices. Hopefully, these facts about life expectancy in Denmark will inform the reader on the problems facing citizens of Denmark, shed light on ways that poverty contributes to life expectancy and displays some ways the Danes can improve their overall average life expectancy rates.

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Denmark

  1. Danish women have the lowest life expectancy rates in the European Union (EU); men fare little better, having the second to last lowest life expectancy rates in the EU.
  2. The average life expectancy for Danish women is 82.1 years of age; the average life expectancy for Danish men is 78 years of age.
  3. Most of the life expectancy research identifies lifestyle choices as the primary reason for the decline in the Danish average life expectancy. These choices include alcohol and tobacco use, poor diet choices and lack of exercise (which often leads to obesity).
  4. Recent research by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that Europeans as a whole are using and consuming more alcohol and tobacco. As medical research shows, alcohol and tobacco use can — and often does — lead to numerous and various health and medical issues (including chronic and terminal diseases) which can impact average life expectancy.
  5. According to the WHO, tobacco use in Europe sits around 30 percent, leading to numerous health-related issues for Europeans.
  6. Most of the leading causes of death in Denmark are various types of cancers, as well as coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s/dementia and diabetes.
  7. An article from June 2000, published in the European Journal of Public Health, argued that most of the leading causes of death in Denmark were from preventable diseases. The article very cryptically stated: “A considerable proportion of the extra deaths in Denmark could be prevented.”
  8. Obesity in Danish children poses an alarming problem, both as an immediate risk and lifelong health risk. The problems associated with obesity are numerous and well-known. If children struggle with obesity, the chances that health-related issues develop sooner is higher. Moreover, children who struggle with obesity are more likely to struggle with weight-related issues for the rest of their lives.
  9. Poverty has also been on the rise in Denmark over the last decade. From 2008 to 2015, the poverty rate increased from 16.3 to 17.7. With the poverty-rate increasing, those affected could — theoretically — have less disposable income for medical check-ups and physicals, as well as less money for preventative care and prescription medicine.
  10. However, not all of the 10 facts about life expectancy in Denmark are dire. Access to medical facilities and services in Denmark remains high, and studies put the average medical spending by the government per Danish citizen at the seventh highest in Europe.

An Optimistic Future

These 10 facts about life expectancy in Denmark should leave one with optimism — most of the medical issues that could lead to a shorter life expectancy are preventable diseases, i.e. these diseases could be prevented with increased exercise, a healthier diet and limited to no alcohol or tobacco use. Furthermore, medical spending and services in Denmark are still well-funded and supplied, providing Danes with adequate health care.

– Raymond Terry
Photo: Flickr

Curbing Diabetes in the Marshall Islands

In 2017, diabetes in the Marshall Islands had the highest prevalence worldwide, with nearly one-third of Marshallese adults suffering from the disease. The Marshall Islands is a country consisting of two archipelago island chains in the western Pacific with a population of about 75,000 people, two-thirds of whom live on the atolls of Majuro and Ebeye.

The majority of people with diabetes in the Marshall Islands, as with most other countries, have type two, which results from the body’s inefficient use of insulin. Common causes of type two diabetes include obesity and a lack of physical activity. According to a 2016 estimate, 53 percent of adults in the Marshall Islands are obese, the fourth highest percentage of in the world. Type two diabetes has reached epidemic levels in the Marshall Islands, and its increase is primarily attributed to poor dietary habits and low levels of physical activity.

Majuro has become increasingly dependent on imported food due to overpopulation. Domestic production supplies only 10 to 20 percent of all food calories consumed since local foods tend to be more expensive than imported foods and the quantity is insufficient to sustain the whole population. Of the food imported, fruits, vegetables and other healthy perishables are the most expensive.

The Marshallese diet is comprised primarily of imported, processed foods that are high in sugar. For example, typical breakfast foods include pancakes, fried doughnuts, ramen, coffeebread, rice and spam. Lunch and dinner usually feature white rice and fresh or canned meat.

Perhaps the greatest change to dietary practices required is a change in attitude. When it comes to food purchase and consumption, the Marshallese tend to value quantity and price over quality. However, results from a recent child development study confirming the link between poor nutrition and growth stunting in the Marshall Islands led the government to consider this issue in setting priorities for development programs and interventions. The study identified poor nutrition as the cause of growth stunting in 35 percent of children surveyed.

In the National Strategic Plan 2015 – 2017, the government addressed the need for both increased access to nutritious foods and the implementation of nutrition education programs in Marshallese schools. Also, in November of 2017, President of the Marshall Islands Hilda Heine met with the World Bank to discuss a long-term early childhood health project to improve childhood health status.

“We received a very enthusiastic response from the World Bank,” President Heine said.

Still, several challenges lie ahead for effective health reform in the Marshall Islands. But the current steps being taken to achieve better health outcomes have the potential to prevent and reduce the prevalence of diabetes in the Marshall Islands.

– Gabrielle Doran

Photo: Flickr

The widespread poverty, hunger and disease in Central Africa has consistently resulted in the lowest life expectancy in the world. While the global average of life expectancy has risen by roughly five years in the past two decades, central African countries continue to dwell at the statistical bottom. At a typical life expectancy of 50 years, the global community must increase funding and accountability to ensure that poverty and disease cease their decimation of central African populations.

The central African country of Chad was estimated to have the lowest life expectancy in the world for 2017. Chad is a country of 12 million people, 40 percent of which live below the poverty line. While the country began oil production in the early 2000s, Chad’s poverty rate is expected to continue its rise. In part, this is due to the country’s high mortality rate and low life expectancy. To gauge the ability of the U.S. and other developed nations to help increase Chadians’ average lifespan of only 50.60 years, it is first necessary to examine the causes of death.

Early Deaths

Children in Chad die from all sorts of illnesses, from malaria and respiratory infections to prematurity and diarrhea. Because so few Chadians have access to birth control, as only approximately five percent use contraception, the birth rate in Chad is growing. 43 percent of the population is aged 14 or younger, and that figure is rising. The risk of dying by this young age is 44 percent for boys and 39 for girls, as of 2012.

Furthermore, Chad has the third highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Extreme poverty, poor to no maternal health care and adolescent pregnancy has contributed greatly to the high maternal death rates. In a country with the lowest life expectancy in the world, the extreme poverty rates must decrease and better access to maternal healthcare is essential if the country is to improve.

Diseases

Chad, like many African nations, is no stranger to disease. Lower respiratory diseases, malaria, HIV/AIDS and diarrhoeal infections are dangerously common. Lower respiratory infections alone killed 24,700 people in 2012. The risk factors for falling prey to these diseases are lack of adequate healthcare, a rarity of potable water and the hot and arid climate. As the largest of Africa’s landlocked countries, Chadians are forced to walk long distances for water.

As only 28 percent of the population lives in urban areas, the vast majority of Chadians do not have quick access to necessities such as water and healthcare. As the country with the world’s lowest life expectancy, it is vital that Chad provide better access to these basic human needs to the entirety of its landscape.

The U.S. is in a unique position to provide monetary and medicinal assistance. Maintaining accountability with the Chadian government regarding these resources would be the most effective way to ensure that taxpayer dollars are going to good use and can be reflected by a rising life expectancy for the people of Chad, and all over Central Africa.

– Eric Paulsen

Photo: Flickr


In the African country of Senegal — population 15.41 million — cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women, and the nation ranks at number 15 in global cervical cancer prevalence.  Considering the cancer is completely treatable through early detection, the number of deaths from cervical cancer in Senegal is startling.

Cervical cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed and the second most common cause of cancer deaths among women. However, in the U.S. and other developed countries, cervical cancer does not even rank among the top three cancer killers. Why the discrepancy between nations like the U.S. and developing nations like Senegal?

The answer is simple: access to screenings and vaccines.

Screening for a Treatable Cancer

While cervical cancer was the leading cancer killer of women in the U.S. until the 1950s, development of the Papanicolaou (Pap) smear allowed for detection of cell abnormalities.  In the following decades, scientists and doctors learned that cervical cancer is the most preventable and treatable type of cancer because it develops very slowly.

“There are 5 to fifteen years from the first cellular changes to the actual cancer development,” says Dr. Andrew Dykens, professor of family medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).  “So you’ve got time during that phase to do something about it.”

Dykens is director of the Global Community Health Track at the Center for Global Health at UIC.  He is also a former Peace Corps volunteer and current member of Rotary International (Rotary Club of Chicago).  He also started the nonprofit Peace Care, which provides resources by bringing together the local expertise of Peace Corps workers and the communities who need them.

Dykens worked with each of these organizations and Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Social Action to bring low-cost screening to the women of the nation.  A method even simpler than a Pap smear, a vinegar solution is used to detect abnormal cells.  The cells can be killed off immediately with a cryotherapy gun and a CO2 tank — another simple method that involves no electricity.

The Cancer Vaccine

In 2013, the global vaccine alliance Gavi selected ten African countries for a pilot human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program, with Senegal being among them.

Certain strains of HPV are the cause of cervical cancer.  While the HPV vaccine has been used in the U.S. and other developed countries since 2006, it was finally introduced to Africa in 2016.  Along with Rwanda and Uganda, Senegal is one among the first three countries to adopt the vaccine as part of its national vaccination program.

Professor Ousseynou Badiane, head of Immunization Division for the Ministry of Health in Senegal, states that through subsidization by Gavi and the Senegalese state, the vaccine will be accessed by all at no cost.  The vaccine is being implemented in two phases – first, a mass vaccination for girls between age 9 and fifteen by May 2018; after that, it will become part of routine immunizations for all girls at age 9.

In the U.S., women are commonly screened for cervical cancer every three years.  For cervical cancer in Senegal, many women are being screened for the first time.  Dykens and other health practitioners understand the challenges they face in terms of a traditionally conservative environment concerning women’s health issues. But with Peace Care, local Rotary clubs, Gavi, and others working together with the nation’s government, promotion of awareness and education will reduce the number of deaths caused by cervical cancer in Senegal.

– Jaymie Greenway

Photo: Flickr

countries with the lowest life expectancyThere are a lot of factors that contribute to a country’s life expectancy. Some of these contributing factors are economic conditions, diet, public health, access to medical care, wars, crime rate etc. Because of this, a lot of the countries on this list are African countries plagued by poverty.

According to the CIA’s World Factbook, these are the top 20 countries with the lowest life expectancy as of 2017.

  1. Chad – 50.6
  2. Guinea-Bissau – 51.6
  3. Afghanistan – 51.7
  4. Gabon – 52.1
  5. Swaziland – 52.1
  6. Zambia – 52.7
  7. Central African Republic – 52.8
  8. Somalia – 52.8
  9. Lesotho – 53
  10. Mozambique – 53.7
  11. Nigeria – 53.8
  12. Burkina Faso – 55.9
  13. Niger – 55.9
  14. Uganda – 55.9
  15. Sierra Leone – 58.6
  16. Cameroon – 59
  17. Cote d’Ivoire – 59
  18. Republic of the Congo – 59.8
  19. Zimbabwe – 59.8
  20. Angola – 60.2

The overwhelming majority of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa. According to Africa Check, the top five causes of death in 2017 in Africa were lower respiratory tract infections, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases, stroke and Ischemic heart disease. The major reasons for these causes of death are unsafe water, poor sanitation, insufficient hygiene, lack of resources and economic conditions. Living conditions dramatically affect life spans and are a major reason why these countries have the lowest life expectancy.

However, there has been a significant improvement in a lot of these countries and their life expectancy numbers. For example, Zimbabwe and Zambia’s longevity has increased by 38 percent since the year 2000. And, overall, of the 37 countries that have seen increases in their life expectancy numbers by more than 10 percent since 2000, 30 are in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, not even one sub-Saharan country had its life expectancy fall between the years 2000-2014.

There is still a lot of progress that needs to be made in order for these countries with the lowest life expectancy to increase their numbers, but regardless, there has been a substantial improvement in these struggling countries.

– McCall Robison

Photo: Flickr

Top 5 Preventable Diseases Caused by Poverty
While the causes of some diseases are debatable, a lot are easily preventable. However, because of a lack of access to healthcare and poor sanitation, a lot of people in developing nations die from these preventable diseases. With education and better healthcare, the people of these nations could be saved.

  1. Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) and Other Prenatal Conditions: Neonatal tetanus is the result of unclean birthing practices. The illness can cause extreme pain to the infant at birth, often leading to its death. However, with cleaner birthing practices and immunizing the expectant mothers with the inexpensive Tetanus Toxoid-Containing Vaccines, babies and mothers can be saved. Organizations such as Circle K and UNICEF have been working for many years to eliminate this disease and have been highly successful. The number of countries containing the disease went from 21 in 2015 to 18 in 2016, and the number of newborns dying from MNT has decreased by 96% since the late ’80s.
  2. HIV/AIDS: HIV/AIDS kills about 7.2% of developing countries’ populations, and by the end of 2007, 33.2 million people were living with HIV. HIV is also the leading cause of death in Africa. Many organizations are continuing their prevention practices by allowing access to affordable condoms, HIV testing and counseling as well as sexual health education in schools and communities. There is also hope for a cure as scientists are still researching for a vaccine. In 2016, a vaccine trial called HVTN 072 tested if the HIV infection could be prevented among South African adults. Research regarding a vaccine gets more in-depth each year.
  3. Measles: There are many preventable diseases that can be stopped with a vaccine. However, in developing countries, health services for those vaccines are either unavailable or inaccessible. While measles is very rare in industrialized countries like the United States, the illness has a 40% mortality rate among children in developing nations who contract it. In 2003, measles took the lives of more than 500,000 children.
  4. Malaria: Another one of the diseases preventable with vaccines, malaria kills more than one million people a year. It is especially prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa.
  5. Tuberculosis: The countries of India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa account for 60% of total deaths caused by tuberculosis. It is one of the top 10 causes of death in the world, yet it is also a treatable and preventable disease. Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria in the air which eventually affects the lungs. People living with HIV are more at risk of dying from the disease. To treat this disease, patients take a six-month course of four antimicrobial drugs.

In our developed worlds with advanced medical work, people don’t usually have to worry about these types of diseases affecting them. Developed nations, however, need to continue allowing healthcare to their people in order to truly eliminate these preventable diseases.

Emma Majewski

Photo: Flickr

Diseases _AfghanistanAfghanistan is the 15th least developed country in the world, where thousands of people die each year from preventable diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) uses age-adjusted rates to compare these diseases and see which ones cause the most deaths. Age-adjusted rates are the rates/dates that would have existed if the population under study had the same age distribution as the “standard” population. Based upon this data, the following are the top 10 diseases in Afghanistan:

  1. Coronary Heart Disease: A disease in which a plaque builds up in the coronary artery and blocks oxygen-rich blood from reaching the heart muscle.
    Based on an age-standardized death rate taken in 2014, coronary heart disease ranks number one of the top diseases in Afghanistan taking thousands of lives each year. Of all the deaths in Afghanistan according to the 2014 data, coronary heart disease accounted for a little more than 9 percent. The age adjusted death rate for this disease calculates to 193.21 per 100,000 people ranking Afghanistan twentieth in the world.
  2. Pneumonia: Lung inflammation caused by bacterial or viral infection.
    Influenza: Also known as the “common flu.”
    According to data recorded in 2014, deaths caused by influenza or pneumonia totaled 28,841 people. The age-adjusted death rate is 97.78 per 100,000 people making it the second most prominent disease in Afghanistan. Unfortunately 72 percent of children who suffer from pneumonia are unable to reach the necessary care of a doctor.
  3. Tuberculosis: a bacterial disease caused by growth of nodules in the tissues.
    The age-adjusted death rate for tuberculosis as of 2014 is 70.41 per 100,000 people. This ranks Afghanistan number 13 in the world regarding mortalities from tuberculosis. Early treatment and proper diagnosis needed to cure tuberculosis and therefore upwards of 13,000 Afghans die each year from the preventable diseases in Afghanistan.
  4. Diarrheal Diseases: Loose bowel movements that often cause dehydration.
    In 2014, 15,977 people or 7.10 percent of the population died because of diarrhoeal diseases. This often can be prevented by drinking safe, clean water and access to adequate sanitation which many Afghans cannot accomplish. Only 48 percent of those with a diarrhoeal disease receive the proper rehydration needed to survive. With many diseases causing early childhood deaths, diarrheal diseases account for 25 percent of them.
  5. Diabetes Mellitus: The most common form of diabetes.
    In 2015 there were 935,800 cases of diabetes in Afghanistan and 19,698 deaths. The age adjusted death rate for tuberculosis as of 2014 ranks diabetes mellitus in Afghanistan number 71 in the world regarding mortalities.
  6. Lung Disease: A problem with the lungs that prevents the lungs from working properly.
    Lung disease caused 2,874 deaths according to data recorded in 2014. The age adjusted death rate is recorded as 27.77 per 100,00 people ranking Afghanistan number 43 in the world regarding lung disease mortalities.
  7. Rheumatic Heart Disease: The age adjusted death rate for this heart disease is 27.57 per 100,000 people as published by data in 2014. Rheumatic heart disease is a condition in which heart valves are damaged (caused by the rheumatic fever). The rheumatic fever is a disease caused by untreated strep throat or scarlet fever.
  8. Hypertension: Abnormally high blood pressure.
    The age adjusted death rate ranks hypertension in Afghanistan at 25th in the world for deaths from hypertension. Without the proper access to professionals and doctors, diagnosing then implementing a way to fix hypertension is extremely difficult.
  9. Breast Cancer: A group of cancer cells that begin in the breast and often spread to other parts of the body.
    One in eight Afghan women are affected by breast cancer. According to the Minister of Public Health Affairs, “[Breast cancer] is not a fatal disease if we seek treatments.” However, the age adjusted death rate of breast cancer ranks Afghanistan number 20 in the world.
  10. Liver Disease: Some type of damage or disease to the liver.
    One of the most serious liver diseases in Afghanistan is hepatitis or inflammation of the liver. In 2013, almost 30,000 cases of viral hepatitis were diagnosed. The WHO is dedicated to fighting the “silent killer” by raising awareness and providing cures.

While deadly, the top 10 diseases in Afghanistan are treatable with the proper awareness and care.

Casey Marx

Photo: Flickr

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

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

Children-in-Yemen-at-risk-for-Epidemic
With the outbreak of conflict in Yemen, health centers have to shut down. Forces continue to attack hospitals and health care centers. There are medical shortages as the conflict hinders the delivery of medical supplies. As a result, children cannot receive the crucial vaccines and treatments they need to fight communicable diseases.

Vaccines save 2.5 million children worldwide from preventable diseases. Without basic vaccines, about 1.5 million children die. There are already cases of Measles reported in Yemen. Doctors are worried about reports of other diseases like Polio. If children in Yemen continue to not receive the vaccines, then these two diseases could continue to spread.

Parents are hesitant to take their children to health care centers to get the vaccines because the centers continue to be targets for attack, and because just getting there is dangerous. That leaves the health workers going into the field to vaccinate children. This can make it difficult to properly track how much of the child population has been vaccinated.

Another often overlooked aspect of vaccinating children is the protection of the vaccines themselves. Doctors have to make sure that vaccine centers maintain a supply of the vaccines needed. However, the conflict can make it difficult for WHO officials to deliver the medical supplies to the vaccine centers. Fuel shortages also cause problems, as there needs to be enough to ensure that the vaccines have the proper cold chain needed.

Issues like this can limit the number of children that can be reached and vaccinated. If supplies cannot be replenished or maintained, then it becomes difficult to keep children safe from diseases.

Contributing to the issue is food insecurity. Before the civil war, Yemen was already importing most of its food. Now, with conflict preventing food from being delivered, Yemen is struggling to feed its people. Without the nutrients to stay healthy and prevent malnutrition, the children’s immune systems are at a higher risk for contracting diseases.

Diseases could spread rapidly, as children in Yemen do not have access to enough food and clean water, people live in close proximity in refuge areas, and there is limited health access. The WHO workers try to combat the spread with consistent monitoring of medical supplies and going out and finding those who need the vaccines.

– Katherine Hewitt

Sources: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UN News Centre, World Health Organization,
Photo: Twitter