Global health and global poverty go hand in hand. Countries living in poverty have little to no access to proper sanitation, clean water, medicine or preventative care. As of 2017, 1.2 billion people around the world live in extreme poverty.
Every year, new epidemics and health crises arise all over the globe. Many global health organizations are working to help treat, prevent and overcome many health issues internationally. Below are the five rising global health issues in focus for 2018. The goal of each of these five rising global health issues in focus for 2018 is to increase awareness and funding to prevent these issues from turning into epidemics.
- The continued fight against HIV/AIDS
The international fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been going on for more than 30 years. As of 2017, over 36 million people were currently living with HIV/AIDS, with over one million of them being children. Many younger generations do not even remember a world without the fight against HIV/AIDS prevalent in the media.Many health organizations and researchers are concerned that the fight against HIV/AIDS is becoming too complacent. It is starting to be considered old news, despite the over one million people who die from the disease every year.While in most developed countries HIV/AIDS can easily be treated, though still not cured, many impoverished countries cannot say the same. In 2018, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) hopes to increase access to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment plans to impoverished countries.
- Polio eradication efforts
Polio, short for poliomyelitis, is a virus that causes paralysis that can sometimes be fatal. The disease is spread through contaminated water and food. Though the disease is incurable, it is treatable and preventable. Since the 1950s, there has been a vaccine against polio given to children to help prevent the contraction of the disease.In 2013, The Global Polio Eradication Initiative created and implemented the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018. The goal is to have a complete eradication of the polio virus by June of 2018.
- New and old diseases
In 2017, the world saw many disease outbreaks in many different countries, from avian influenza in China to respiratory syndrome coronavirus in the Middle East. Many of these diseases are well known throughout the world, such as yellow fever, cholera, and diphtheria. Fortunately, many of these diseases are treatable. However, the world also faces new strains of unfamiliar diseases. Each year, researchers face a new strain of influenza that cannot be included in the current vaccine. Recently, healthcare workers have reported seeing new strains of the bubonic plague, as well as resurgences of the zika virus and West Nile virus. Combatting these diseases and keeping them contained is extremely important.
- Refugees and immigrants
Due to the recent refugee crisis, many people are fleeing from their countries to a more prosperous future. Unfortunately, with the new influx of people comes new diseases that the local population is not prepared for. This increases a need for research, treatment and vaccines in order to stop epidemics from starting. It is also extremely hard for most immigrants to find proper healthcare or the financial protection needed to ensure that they get proper treatment.
- Foreign aid and international healthcare
Currently, many impoverished countries rely heavily on foreign aid to assist them in distributing health care to their people. However, due to a rise in nationalism and misinformation about the efforts of foreign aid around the world, many countries are decreasing or even stopping relief aid to various impoverished countries. Without aid and funding, many countries will not be able to get the proper treatments and prevention methods needed to keep their people healthy.
The distribution of information regarding these issues is meant not only to increase awareness but also to boost funding and aid to impoverished countries. This will help poorer countries combat these five rising global health issues while helping clear a path for a healthier future.
– Courtney Wallace