One of the most common sayings in the world is that prevention is better than cure. That holds true on an individual and on a community level. On a broader scale, it concerns global health. The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of preventive measures on a global scale.
A healthy diet and exercise can only take you so far in terms of reducing risk for disease. There are a lot of factors beyond our control that can contribute to poor health. This limited scope where we can take care of our wellbeing shows that we need a deeper, broader understanding of how health works.
In a globalized economy with open international borders and evolving healthcare trends, diseases and pathogens are no longer restricted to a particular community or country. Increased travelling means that people often become carriers of a particular illness or condition. Doctors and healthcare providers cannot exclusively focus on their own community, considering that diseases from all over the world can end up in their backyard.
The first step towards managing health on a global scale is understanding what global health actually means. TABIIB breaks down the basics and the issues surrounding global health.
What Is Global Health?
Global health is the practice of placing the issue of healthcare in a broader context. The study of global health involves a research of medicine with the primary focus on improving health accessibility and equity for populations worldwide. This includes making sure that people all over the world have:
-the knowledge about healthcare and its components
-equal and equitable access to the right healthcare services
-the right channels through which they can access proper healthcare
All of the above point towards a broader understanding of health – it goes beyond doctors and healthcare professionals. It’s about understanding environmental factors, public policy, economy, and several other fields.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is the primary agency focussed on advancing global health. The WHO, along with a few other health organizations, have listed out the 4 main issues that can affect equity in global health.
4 Prominent Issues
The issues listed below need to be resolved if the world is to ever reach the goal of sustainable development by 2030.
Pandemics & Epidemics
To put it simply, pandemics are outbreaks of infectious disease that affect large populations. As a result, it’s always best to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to epidemics. The world is currently living through a pandemic and it has shifted the foundation of daily life.
Climate change is an environmental and health risk. A WHO report has estimated that nearly 7 million people die from pollution every year. This includes air, land, and sea pollution. Natural disasters can worsen the spread of infectious disease.
There is a disparity between those who have access to healthcare and those who don’t. This gap rests on the grounds of poverty and lower socioeconomic status. People who don’t have the means to access healthcare suffer the most from easily preventable chronic conditions. Access to quality healthcare – irrespective of background – is essential towards promoting health equity. All countries must make accessible healthcare priority – through health and technology reforms and medical infrastructure.
Communicable diseases reportedly kill around 3 million people every year – a wider outreach of immunization could’ve prevented those deaths. Global leaders must invest in and fund research and development, and expand access to vaccines and medicine.
Global health can seem like an overwhelming subject to tackle. However, we can make a difference by raising awareness. Healthcare practitioners and policymakers are becoming more aware of the need for holistic reforms that address these needs. The goal of achieving healthcare sustainability isn’t too far off.