The World Health Organization (WHO) has chosen April 7 as World Health Day. World Health Day represents a time when countries all around the globe can come together to discuss the state of the global population – and the struggles that each individual country may face.
The WHO has dedicated this day to the discussion of every kind of health problem – in 2017, the focus has been on mental health and depression. But World Health Day also represents a time that we can address the issues that face countries worldwide – especially lesser-developed countries.
A recent study discusses four of the most crucial health challenges that must be addressed all around the world. By understanding these challenges, you can have a better understanding of the landscape of medical care not just in your country and in your hospital – but in the world at large.
Challenge 1 – Shifts To “Lifestyle-Related” Diseases
The world of global health has changed dramatically over the last century. Even just several decades ago, infectious diseases like malaria and ebola were the primary medical issues faced by the developing world.
However, an increased emphasis on prevention and vaccination as well as aid programs from more developed countries have reduced – though not eliminated – the spread of these infections diseases.
And while they do remain a concern, a shift has occurred in the past decades to “lifestyle-related” diseases, even in developing nations. Ailments such as cancer, heart disease, and psychiatric disorders are expected to overtake issues like child malnutrition and infectious diseases as the largest contributors to the global disease burden.
Nurses have already seen this shift to lifestyle diseases in developed countries for years, but as global wealth increases, diseases of affluence are now becoming common even in lesser-developed countries.
This represents a shift in the way health professionals must deal with global health, as lifestyle-related disease can’t be cured or vaccinated. Dealing with issues like heart disease and cancer requires the education of the global populace – they must understand the causes of these diseases if they are to be prevented.
Challenge 2: The Continued Spread of HIV/AIDS
Middle and high-income countries have mostly gotten the spread of HIV/AIDS under control. Preventative treatments that stop HIV from progressing into AIDS, public health campaigns, and an increased emphasis on safe sex are all part of this reduction in the spread of the disease.
However, lower-income developing countries are still suffering the effects of HIV/AIDS. In developing countries – especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS remains an epidemic, with nearly 66% of new infections occurring in Sub-Saharan African countries.
While there are many multinational, governmental, and non-governmental agencies concerned with stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, it remains difficult to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS in these countries, especially those with an unstable political climate.
In fact, soldiers remain one of the primary disease vectors for the spread of HIV/AIDS in war-torn countries. It’s estimated by WorldWatch that nearly 20% of soldiers in Sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV/AIDS, making up the majority of the infected population in these areas.