A lot of managing our health is down to prevention, but just how much can a person really do to combat the underlying causes of illness and disease? Surely, a healthy diet and adequate exercise will only go so far. Many factors affect our health and on a global scale. Things like technological advances, agricultural changes, globalisation of economies, transportation and healthcare trends have impacts that transcend international borders. Nowadays, anyone from anywhere can end up in your local doctor’s surgery, meaning tougher battles against communicable disease.
This is why we need a greater focus on global health. What is global health?
Global health is a focus on healthcare from an international and multi-disciplinary viewpoint. It involves the research, study and practice of healthcare with a focus on improving outcomes for populations across the world. Disciplines involved include sociology, economics, epidemiology, environmental studies, public policy and cultural studies. The most prominent organisation that deals with global health is the World Health Organisation.
Here are some of the challenges facing global health right now:
These are global outbreaks of disease, such as influenza, HIV, Ebola and other viral threats that expose our vulnerabilities to widespread disease. Each year, there are new threats that must be addressed by better education, safe agricultural methods and other issues. To better understand infections like the flu, Paid Medical Trials are regularly carried out. For more information, visit www.trials4us.co.uk
There are growing concerns over climate change and the pollution in our air. These factors provide challenges to human health, which is why we need to protect our water supplies and sanitation. The biggest risk following a devastating natural event like flooding or storm damage is the speed of spreading disease.
- Economic inequalities and healthcare access
There have been incredible advances in the fields of medicine but unfortunately, many communities remain impoverished and lacking access to the most basic of health education and care. These communities suffer high levels of STDs, high child mortality and a lack of basic nutrition. Such disparities can be the result of geography, income inequalities or political upheaval.
International politics and conflicts in particular can damage internal infrastructures, water supplies, sanitation and leaving citizens far more vulnerable to disease and ill-health. Refugee migration also exacerbates the spread of diseases. Cross-border policies must be put in place to prevent humanitarian crises.
- Non-communicable diseases
These are diseases that aren’t contagious, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. These account for 70% of all the deaths worldwide and can be brought on through genetic, environmental, behavioural and physiological factors. Education is key to preventing these diseases. Almost 75% of deaths attributed to non-communicable diseases occur in low- and middle-income nations.
- Animals, food and supply
The health of our animals is interlinked with our health. The most obvious link is in the food chain. Factors like agricultural practices, pesticide use, waste disposal and irrigation methods all affect animal health and the food chain.