Global Health issues are escalating due to transportation advancements, changes in agricultural practices, and a globalized economy. As a result, physicians and medical advisors must look into the health problems globally and influence patients to undertake prevention efforts.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed some of the urgent challenges of global health that the world may face over the coming decade. The list gives an overview of critical health issues and demands an answer from communities, governments, and international agencies. According to WHO, these agencies must work together to address global health challenges.
Before knowing more about global health issues, let us first understand what global health is and its importance.
Global Health is an understanding of interdisciplinary and international level healthcare. It is an amalgamation of research, study, and practice of medicine to improve health and healthcare equity globally.
World Health Organization is a renowned agency constantly working toward global health issues. Today, leaders and researchers from various fields are also spearheading endeavors to work together and address the challenges of global health.
Importance of Global Health
Global health is essential because our interconnected world and health issues influence our health as individual human beings.
In recent decades, increasing global trade and travel has had pros and cons. Communicable infectious diseases such as COVID-19 quickly spread globally. However, non-communicable diseases such as obesity are also spreading due to the connected world.
Here is a list of the six most prominent global health issues that need to be addressed.
Transmissible Diseases and Pandemics
We are well aware of how transmissible diseases can disrupt everything globally. The recent COVID-19 Pandemic is an example that shows how infectious diseases can cross borders and create health problems globally. Other examples of pandemics are influenza outbreaks, HIV/AIDS, malaria, Ebola, etc., most of which originate from animals. Infectious diseases spread quickly due to development policies, politics, and environmental damage. Every year, new pandemic threats emerge and put us in fear of shutting down from the world.
The recent Pandemic has shown a gap in containment and preparation. Vaccination helps, but it is necessary to address issues like responsible agricultural practices and health education. Researchers have also recommended global risk relief measures that may help even after an outspread of diseases.
According to WHO, around 70 percent of deaths result from non-transmissible diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, etc. Even obesity has become one of the major health problems globally. On the other hand, cancer leads to the death rate in highly polluted countries having relatively long life expectancy.
To prevent non-communicable diseases, educating populations to understand and change their lifestyle habits such as inactivity, poor diets, and the use of tobacco and alcohol plays a vital role.
Though researchers have not established a relation between the prevalence of NCDs and income level, the WHO notes that 85% of NCD-related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. NCDs are the most extensive global health issues, and reducing them requires reducing factors in lower-income communities.
How does the environment result in health problems globally? The answer to this is water sources and sanitation.
Diseases spread when there is a storm, flood, drought, and air pollution, affecting large chunks of the population. The solution lies in providing sanitation technology, bottled water, etc. However, prevention should be the first step to addressing global health issues.
According to Dr. Macpherson, the most significant global health issue is Climate change. It is a considerable threat, and the international policies for mitigating humankind’s contribution to climate change are gaining traction.
He also enlists legislations of numerous countries as evidence. For example, some policies regulate individual household energy consumption, whereas some encourage environmentally safe practices in industries on a large scale.
According to World Bank Data, around 50 percent of the world’s population resides in urban areas. Hence, such changes can have profound benefits on global health issues.
Though there has been relentless progress in medicine, various communities from around the world are still not able to access minimum health education and health care. As a result, it leads to health disparities like high infant death rates that are often geographically related.
Income inequality between individuals and families also results in available healthcare that they cannot afford. On the other hand, economic disparities between countries also result in challenges of global health. Economically sound countries have advanced healthcare system that every patient can afford and is available to them quickly. However, economically less developed countries’ healthcare systems are weak, and their population struggles to access them. Every year, the inability to access healthcare causes millions of premature deaths.
Global health professionals must solve these challenges of global health by exploring opportunities for uplifting underrepresented communities through public health forums, encouraging doctors to practice in backward and remote regions, and amending policies that can increase healthcare access and reduce barriers.
Animal and Agricultural Supplies
Humans are dependent on animals to a large extent. Whether food or transportation or clothing, animals are a prime source of various necessities for humans. Veterinary Public Health offices ensure animal wellness which is necessary for the survival of humans.
Various agricultural practices such as pesticide use, irrigation, and waste management can influence animal health significantly. It makes disease transmission a threat at every stage of the food chain. Thus, the significant role of animal and animal product pathogens in disease transmission insists on including veterinary medicine in efforts to curb global health issues.
International politics worsen the inadequate access to health care. Average citizens are more prone to diseases in nations with less critical infrastructure because of conflicts within or with other countries. It thus leads them to go for opportunities to escape the problematic conditions threatening the well-being of their citizens.
The illnesses can spread quickly through migration. However, organizations like WHO aim for a solution to improve refugee and migrant health. It can be made possible by organizing cross-border endorsement policies to shorten humanitarian crisis responses with long-term healthcare critical progress.
With the countries and economies connecting, the coming years will face a rise in global health issues. Increasing trade and wealth can inculcate improvements in human health and bring new threats. The challenges of global health will include transmissible diseases and persistent chronic disorders for years ahead, but doctors and researchers are working globally to improve global health.