Medical advancements have become more prevalent than ever now, but we cannot deny that the burden of various diseases is also increasing day by day. World Health Day is celebrated on April 7th to raise awareness about healthcare in the world and also to be able to help the countries that still lack access to healthcare despite the advancements in Medicine.
Here are some threats to global health in 2019, according to WHO.
Air Pollution and Climate Change
Air pollution and climate change top the list of significant health threats of 2019. About nine out of ten people breathe polluted air every day, and it can have devastating effects on health. The WHO considers air pollution as the greatest environmental risk to health and microscopic pollutants in the air can penetrate respiratory and circulatory systems, damaging the lungs, heart, and brain, killing 7 million people prematurely every year from diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart and lung disease, as per WHO.
With the rapid increase in the number of non-communicable and lifestyle-based diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease that are collectively responsible for over 70% of all deaths worldwide, falls second place in the list of most significant health threats in 2019.
The rise of these diseases has been driven by five major risk factors: tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, and air pollution.
Global Influenza Pandemic
Another significant health threat to the world is Global influenza pandemic. According to WHO, the world will face another influenza pandemic, except it is not known when. The global defenses are only as effective as the weakest link in any country’s health emergency preparedness and response system, WHO says.
Ebola and other High-Threat Pathogens
Ebola and other high-threat pathogens is a growing threat that needs to be curbed. According to WHO, this watchlist for priority research and development includes Ebola, several other hemorrhagic fevers, Zika, Nipah, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and disease X, which represents the need to prepare for an unknown pathogen that could cause a severe epidemic.
Vector-borne diseases can be fatal and find its preventive measures in sanitation of teh living environment. Dengue amongst the other mosquito-borne illness can be fatal and kill up to 20% of those with severe dengue. The number of Dengue cases has been a growing threat for decades, and a high number of cases occur in the rainy seasons of tropical countries such as Bangladesh and India.
HIV/AIDs has always been one of the biggest health threats in the world. However, according to WHO, the development made against the fatal disease, HIV has been tremendous. Especially, in terms of getting people tested, providing them with antiretrovirals, and providing access to preventive measures such as pre-exposure prophylaxis- PrEP, which is when people at risk of HIV take antiretrovirals to prevent infection.
However, more than 70 million people still have acquired the virus, and about 35 million people have died. Over 37 million worldwide live with HIV, as per WHO.
Reaching the goal of fighting these health issues through will require addressing the threats to health from a variety of angles and collective efforts. This World Health Day, Let’s make being healthy a goal for this year.