The Top Five Global Health Concerns of 2011

Submitted by Dee Boling | Category: General Interest | Published on Apr 12, 2011
Worldwide, there are many health problems that can be solved with medicine, education, and proper nutrition. More global health initiatives are needed to address these issues.

International health issues affect everyone -- across the globe.  Some are curable problems or even issues the global health community thought it had addressed, such as TB and measles. Yet there is so much work to be done -- especially in developing countries. In places where food resources are sporadic or sparse, so are vaccines, vitamins, and medicines. These necessities are often taken for granted in many places – and can make a huge difference in saving lives in countries in need. 

Doctor Themed Cupcakes Since children and elderly populations are more susceptible to some infections, these global health concerns are even more pressing and challenging to address. 

Global health initiatives surrounding these areas of concern can help diminish the number of fatalities and infections each year.   

1. Tuberculosis (TB):  At one time TB was thought to be cured. Since the advent of AIDs, new strains have emerged that are resistant to antibiotics and are spreading. There are 9.4 million new cases diagnosed each year and an estimated 1.3 million people die of TB each year.  In Kenya, Kate Mcintyre, a professor of International Health and Development at Tulane University, has actively addressed the TB infection rate in that country for four years. She says that TB in Kenya is “worse than anything that was seen in Europe and America in the 19th Century.”  TB is found to be more prevalent in AIDs patients, who are likely to die of it.  They call it the twin epidemics in Kenya.

2. AIDS/HIV:  AIDS is a global health issue of phenomenal proportion. There are 33.4 Million people are living with HIV and 2 million deaths by AIDS annually. Though the number of people with new HIV infections has steadily declined due to antiretroviral therapy, AIDS is still a major threat, killing 1.3 million adults and children per year and counting for 68% of all people infected. Many different global initiatives have focused on AIDS education and prevention. Most notably, U2’s Bono and Lady Diana have taken up the challenges presented by AIDS in Africa.  More help is needed to stem to tide of this deadly disease. 

TB and AIDS are two major Global health concerns. But so is malnutrition in children.

3. Child Death due to Malnutrition:  A staggering figure of over 8 million children per year die of malnutrition or a preventable disease before the age of five.  Many children in the U.S. die of accidents.  Some steps can be taken to ensure child motor vehicle and health safety.  Identifying and preventing childhood illnesses and encouraging health in children is important, too. Immunizations should be made and kept up-to-date. Worldwide, improved nutrition and immunization could lessen childhood death rate over time.    

4.  Malaria: Nearly 3 million people die of Malaria each year.  Malaria outbreaks cause severe illness in 243 million people.  The United Nations launched an Anti-Malaria Campaign which distributes Mosquito Nets, new drugs (Coartem) and malaria test kits to communities in danger. The aim of these programs is to reduce the number of malaria outbreaks and epidemics. Coartem has been effective at treating malaria in adults and children. 

5.Measles:  The measles are curable with a vaccine that costs less than $1.  To date, an estimated 164,000 die from measles unnecessarily.  Many of those who perish are children. 

Global health policy is powerful, and impacts the entire population.  More global health initiatives are needed to address TB, malaria, AIDS and other global health concerns.  Strategies are already available to address many of these issues. 

For more information, visit Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine on the Web. 


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