The Biggest Global Healthcares Issues
The worst problems being tackled in the world today are war, poverty, pollution, food shortage, water crisis, power generation resources, education and unemployment. One issue rises above all others in its urgency: Healthcares.
Unfortunately, 2016 has been the worst year in terms of world peace with death and destruction taking place in the Middle, Occupied Kashmir, Palestine, Africa, Myanmar besides civil war. Every country is obligated to give priority to healthcare and care for civilians even in times of war. It is a real shame that humanity has been completely ignored in wars these past years. Civilian death tolls are shocking as entire cities are razed to the ground as aerial attackers claim to hunt down rebels and militant forces. The result is devastating.
The refugee crisis is at an all time high as the civilian areas are unfit for living yet still have some brave souls fighting to survive on less than nothing. There is no food, water, clothes or medicine. Perhaps worst of all is that there is no safety. Hospitals, clinics, medical centers and ambulances are attacked by security forces which are meant to protect civilians. The places where refugees and civilians are supposed to get medical relief are in danger so the people are completely isolated. So, the first step to improving healthcares in the world is to announce a permanent ceasefire in war stricken countries. Only then will any progress happen.
Main global health problems
The countries where war only casts a shadow from the past still face common health problems. The sad part is that the governments responsible for providing people healthcare are corrupt, incompetent and embezzle money from the healthcare sector. This leaves little to no funds for saving the rapidly deteriorating health departments in various countries contributing to global health problems. As a large part of the annual budget goes into the military sector to strengthen the defense, the people suffer even in the absence of significant corruption.
This situation has made healthcares very expensive for the common man. The pharmaceutical industry already runs a business instead of actually bringing out effective cures for diseases. Pharmaceutical companies wish for more profit and ignore the serious side effects of medicines being sold at pharmacies. This is unethical and unprofessional but there is no one to stop them because patients are desperate for treatments and don’t have alternatives available yet.
There have been major breakthroughs in medicine in recent years as private institutes fund research at universities. However, a lot more funding is needed at the national level from the government to quicken the pace of drug development and creation of better treatments for the masses. Some great research is being conducted at leading research centers around the globe focusing on affordable synthesis and treatments which have no side effects.
Natural compounds and herbal medicine has emerged as a savior as a blend of tradition and modern technology is used to create viable health solutions. Lately, biotechnology has taken center stage and drug chemistry has been pushed back. Scientists are bringing in expertise from various faucets of biology and working with living tissue to develop effective cures. This field is expected to expand in the coming years and affording revolutionary ideas.
There is stark contrast between the people who can afford proper healthcare and those who struggle to earn three square meals a day. There is a large segment of the world population that goes hungry for more than a day due to unavailability of food. The population of this segment boomed this year as war broke out and people were forced to eat rotten food or starve.
Poverty and Healthcare
Poverty and healthcare have an inseparable relationship so alleviating poverty should be a significant consideration when talking about the health sector. The Hunger Project reported that one in nine people in the world are faced with inadequate food availability. What life is like for these people is unimaginable.
This is linked to another dilemma: child labor. Due to poor awareness reproductive health and less acceptance of contraceptives, the world population is out of control. A poor man has too many mouths to feed so the children have to go out and earn as well. They are vulnerable to all kinds of horrors including physical and sexual abuse. This is a very difficult position for these delicate young human beings who are treated like animals.
They are the most neglected part of the human population as guardians disappear or are generally the ones carrying out abuse. The children become accustomed to abuse as it is normalized in many societies that turn a blind eye to their plight. The children don’t seek help from medical professionals leading to a breakdown of their physical, mental and emotional health. Women are also caught in a vicious cycle of abuse where their children suffer along with them. In many cases, the women themselves are abusers taking out their frustration on their kids.
This means that no help can reach the victims and survivors of abuse. This is probably the biggest failure of global healthcare. It’s not just the detection of abuse which is important but also its treatment. There are very few cases of abuse reported when a patient is brought into the emergency room. Doctors often insist on a police case being filed first while the patient lies on their death bed. The law enforcement is highly corrupt particularly in developing countries with very slow legal processing of reports.
Rarely does a victim receive justice and the abuser often targets them repeatedly while the law enforcement sits back quietly. That being said, the state of emergency rooms in public hospitals is deplorable in many third world countries. There is a higher chance of a patient dying through the incompetence of the medical staff as compared to their wounds. A large majority of hospitals are underfunded, understaffed with bad hygiene, outdated equipment, untrained staff, inadequate medicinal stock and poor service.
Modern comforts and industrialization may be amazing but in the long run they have taken a huge toll on global health. As mentioned before, pollution is a serious factor in holding mankind back from progress. It is literally killing the planet. Nothing is safe. Plants, animals and humans are all caught up in the filth of pollution. As out water bodies and pastures become contaminated, the diseases are passed from animal to Man.
You might assume that vegetarians and vegans are safe but that’s not true. Even the water we drink and the air we breathe is polluted. Respiratory illnesses are among the leading causes of death in developed countries. According to Humanosphere, the UAE leads with 80 micrograms of pollutants per cubic meter followed by China with 73 micrograms of pollutants per cubic meter and lastly, India with 32 micrograms of pollutants per cubic meter. Viruses like Ebola have caused quite a bit of panic in recent times and measures must be taken to prevent such outbreaks.
As the stress of our busy lifestyle increases and we turn towards junk food more and more, it comes as no surprise that heart disease remains so common in the world. All this processed food that is high in sugar and fat with hardly any nutritional value is like a slow poison. Obesity goes hand in hand with heart disease and diabetes as you know. While starvation is the main issue in developing and war torn countries, obesity is highly prevalent in developing countries.
The saturated fats consumed in greater quantities block the flow of blood in the thin capillaries of the heart. Atherosclerosis hardens the coronary arteries overtime creating a recipe for disaster. Ultimately, the patient suffers from a stroke. The longer that part of the heart is deprived of blood carrying precious oxygen the more the chance of that part being damaged permanently or dying. Hypertension is becoming increasingly common as everyone is feeling the pressure to succeed and dealing with daily problems that come with technological advancement.
Oral healthcare is to be practiced individually but sadly, it is often ignored. This leads to cavities, toothache and a plethora of issues related to poorly maintained teeth. Bacterial infections usually occur as a result of bad hygiene and improper care of wounds. Antiseptic is your best friend in such situations so you must always carefully clean and bandage wounds. Unfortunately, poverty is closely connected with bacterial infections due to the deplorable living conditions, nutrition and healthcare of the underprivileged. In several parts of the world, people have no choice but to drink contaminated water and consume an unbalanced diet.
Starvation is not uncommon is these areas with a high number of infant deaths due to it. Cleanliness is not considered or is not possible to implement at an acceptable level as people struggle to survive another day. Medical teams cannot reach them in time if they reside in remote areas. They are often made of volunteers and rely on private funding so they usually understaffed with limited supplies. Cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in the world today. Although cancer research has a better level of funding than other medical research categories, there is still a lot to be discovered and developed.
One of the main issues is that there are so many kinds of cancer and every patient reacts differently to the same treatment. Currently, the drugs and treatments being offered to cancer patients have big side effects. There is a dire need to adopt methods which only attack the tumors and leave the healthy cells of the body unharmed. Health conditions related to old age have always been a concern for medical professionals through better care for the elderly is being planned these days in some countries. The wear and tear of the cushioning of joints results in painful diseases like arthritis. It happens to almost everyone as they pass a certain age and can make life difficult. Proper management of old age issues like arthritis is very important as is organized care for the elderly.
The number of people afflicted with diabetes seems to be increasing every year particularly in the younger generation. The bad diet full of processed sugar and saturated fats is partly to blame. Another aspect of modern lifestyle that contributes to diabetes and obesity is inactivity. Exercise is essential for a healthy life but people are attached to electronic devices or chained to a desk for most part of the day. A revival is needed where unprocessed organic food is promoted and daily exercise is encouraged.
State of healthcare in the West
We have studied the condition of global healthcare up till now and clearly seen that the underdeveloped countries are the ones with the biggest problems. However, leading world economies like the USA also have their fair share of difficulties in the health sector. The health issues in America include heart disease, diabetes, obesity, oral diseases, cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, malnutrition, hunger and respiratory illnesses among others. It’s not hard to see why these problems are common in the USA.
Air pollution and smoking cause significant damage to the respiratory system of the body. Obesity is one of the main reasons heart diseases and diabetes is present in most of the population. A balanced diet can help in the treatment and prevention of many of these problems.
Right in the south of the USA lays Latin America which faces its own health issues. Poor economy is a major reason for insufficient funds for the health department. We Forum reported that 30% of the residents don’t have enough money to pay for good healthcare. Worse, 21% cannot get past geographical barriers to receive adequate healthcare.
Australia may be an isolated continent in terms of land but it has progressed wonderfully over the decades. However, there are still challenges to overcome for health policy makers and medical professionals. Cancer, coronary illness, diabetes, kidney dysfunction, musculoskeletal conditions, respiratory diseases and oral issues are some of their major concerns. The Australian government has made a plan to improve healthcare there via regular cancer screening, data collection, organ and tissue donation, monitoring safety and quality in hospitals, improving elderly care and emergency care, etc.
Europe consisted of several countries each with their own issues to tackle related to healthcare. The good news for Europeans is that WHO has ranked many European countries at the top in the quality of healthcare list. France tops the list followed by Italy with great healthcare policies and facilities for residents.
State of healthcare in the East
The Hunger Project revealed that out of 98% of people around the globe who are undernourished belong to developing countries. This is a very poor statistic and governments in the East should definitely take notice of the deplorable health conditions around them. On the other hand, you might be surprised to learn that WHO ranked Singapore as the 6th country in terms of providing healthcare to its residents.
Singapore is one of the most developed countries in the world so despite being located in Asia, it sets an example for others around the world. Oman in the UAE and Japan ranked 8th and 10th respectively. So, one can say that the state of health departments in Asia is definitely not all bad. Rather, they have exceptional records in the medical profession and stand out for their quality services.
China has the largest population and is one of world powers but its healthcare system requires big reforms according to Chinese healthcare specialists. Almost every country in the word gets their goods manufactured from China meaning the Chinese have a thriving industry. As we compared industrialization to public health before you will realize that they are inversely proportional to each other.
Of course, the people need jobs and other countries take advantage of the cheap labor there but what about health? Chinese doctors suggest a new and improved healthcare system where healthcare providers are given incentives other than profits for a patient-centered approach.
Predictably, the African continent lags behind when it comes to healthcare. Most African nations simply don’t possess the resources to boost healthcare with such a poor economy. Population control, reproductive health and STDs are the major concerns for African doctors. AIDs is hard to control with low awareness of sexual health and the illness being transferred from mother to fetus. Bacterial infection due to bad hygiene and awful sanitation are rampant.
The basic medical needs of the people are not being met. The civil wars, corrupt governments and in some cases, old traditions, are standing in the way of progress in healthcare. There is drought, famine and starvation to combat. If people do not even have access to enough food and safe drinking water then the healthcare system is bound to fail.
A large segment of the African population is malnourished due to food shortage. South Africa is thankfully an exception to the awful state of healthcare in the continent. Events like the African Health Exhibition go a long way to promoting good health practices there.
Subcontinent Health issues:
The subcontinent forms a big part of Asia with countries including Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. There are major health problems in India due to the uncontrolled population and alarming level of poverty coupled with lawlessness and corruption.
The public health sector is very unreliable with medical staff turning healthcare into a business even though they are paid by the government. The funds allotted for equipment, medicine and repair is embezzled leaving barely anything for the hospital to run. The sanitation is quite poor in India particularly in the rural area and slums. The slums of the subcontinent have the worst healthcare in Asia.
The people live dangerously in tiny cramped homes made of unbaked bricks. They readily collapse under heavy rain and earthquakes. They are prone to accidents due to bad infrastructure leading to emergency rooms being filled quickly. The state in Pakistan and Bangladesh is not very different from that of India.
In recent years, there has been a surge of terrorism and natural disasters in this region. You would expect the authorities to issue weather warnings and organize evacuations. Nothing like this happens in Pakistan. The warnings are either issued too late or not issued at all. The army is usually the one to respond to disaster struck areas first.
It carries out evacuations, rescue operations, disaster relief and rehabilitation. The government hardly lifts and fingers. Some officials come by when the coast is clear merely for the sake of being popular in the media for their non-existent efforts for the people. As the law enforcement agencies in Pakistan are poorly equipped and not well-trained to handle terrorism, there are often major casualties during attacks. They are slow to respond and not organized to deal with the injured. It’s absolute chaos even after threats are noted and their frequency is significant. The health issues in Pakistan are closely related to poverty just like with other third world countries. The lack of awareness of reproductive and sexual health has severe consequences.
The infant mortality rates and maternity care in the country is terrible. This is especially true for villages where births are often assisted by midwives. The women are deprived of the basic healthcare a mother and child needs resulting in post natal issues. Another issue is abortion, which is very common as the girl child is seen as an undesirable burden by many people.
The women are forced to consult quacks who use unsterilized dirty equipment to get the job done and get money out of it. The production of fake medicine, food and beverages and selling of expired medicine and food is not uncommon in Pakistan. These illegal businesses cause several deaths every year particularly the consumption of poisonous alcohol at special occasions.
The governments all over the world need to take effective steps to improve healthcare in their respective countries. Collaborations for the purpose of promoting good healthcare in their regions would be a noble initiative. As we have the internet now health tips are available to anyone with an internet connection. You can read what medical professionals advise in health related articles to develop a healthy lifestyle.
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