Aspects of Global Health Issues: Diseases, Natural Disasters, and Pharmaceutical Corporations and Medical Research

By Brown, Geradine | ABNF Journal, Summer 2016 | Go to article overview

Aspects of Global Health Issues: Diseases, Natural Disasters, and Pharmaceutical Corporations and Medical Research


Brown, Geradine, ABNF Journal


Introduction

ealth care around the world is improbably complex, and varies according to nations. Almost all wealthy nations do provide universal health care (the US is an exception). Proper health care for many people is challenging because of not being able to afford medication, which might include cultural, economic, social, and political restrictions. The World Health Organization (WHO) is the premier organization looking at health issues around the world. According to WHO, people with the most means, whose needs for health care are often less, consume the most care, and those with the least means and the greatest health problems consume the least. Public health spending on health services most often benefits the wealthy, more than the poor. People who lack social protection and payment for care is mostly out-of-pocket are often confronted with catastrophic expenses. The excessive specialization of health care providers and the narrow focus of many diseases control programs discourage a holistic approach to the individuals and the families they deal with and do not appreciate the need for continuity in care. Needless deaths are attributed to hospital-acquired infections, medication errors, and other avoidable adverse effects that are an underestimated cause of death and ill-health. Many other rights and issues related to health are the inequality of education, and gender (http://www.globalissues.org/article/774/health-care-aroundthe-world).

Health as a Human Right and Universal Health Care

According to the Office of the United Nations high Commissioner for Human rights (OHCHR) and the World Health Organization (WHO), "the right to health is relevant to all States; every State has ratified at least one international human rights treaty recognizing the right to health. Moreover, States have committed themselves to protecting this right through international declarations, domestic legislation and policies, and at international conferences" (The Right to Health, Factsheet 31,p.l, OHCHR and WHO, undated).

Universal Health Care is health coverage for all citizens of a nation. It is felt by many that the provision of universal health infringes on individual human rights. Others argue that a universal system requires some level of transfer of wealth from those who have to support those who have not. Any such transfer infringes on the freedom of the individual being taxed. There are numerous ways that such a system may be provided such Government funded (tax paid) national systems; Government funded but user fees are used; Health insurance systems (funded by governments, citizens or others); and Decentralized, private systems that are for profit or not for profit) (http://www.globalissues.org/issues/587/health-issues).

Diseases - Ignored Global Killers

Many people, most in tropical countries of the Third World, die of preventable and curable diseases such as Malaria, tuberculosis and acute lower-respiratory infections. People have died because the drugs to treat the illnesses were nonexistent or are no longer effective (http://www.globalissues. org/article/218/diseases-ignored-global-killers). Malaria causes approximately 243 million acute illnesses and 863,000 deaths, annually. Two thousand children per day in Africa die from this disease almost one every 45 seconds. Malaria is both a disease and a cause of poverty. It has a greater impact on Africa's human resources than simple lost earnings. An indirect cost of Malaria is the human pain and suffering caused by the disease. Malaria also hampers children's schooling and social development through both absenteeism and permanent neurological and other damage associated with severe episodes of the disease. The presence of Malaria in a community or country also hampers individual and national prosperity, due to its influence on social and economic decisions. The risk of contracting Malaria in endemic areas can deter investment, both internal and external and affect individual and household decision making in ways that have a negative impact on economic productivity and growth (World Health Organization, accessed October 2, 2010). …

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