From a pandemic to climate change: the challenges of the present decade


The World Health Organization (WHO) has prepared a list of the challenges that threaten health in the present decade and the outlook is not good.

The director of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, he warned that world leaders do not invest enough in health needs, something that puts human health at risk. Instead, “they invest a lot in protecting their people from terrorist attacks,” while a virus “could be much more deadly and much more economically and socially harmful.”

“We have to realize that health is a future investment,” he added.

The organization said that for the international community it is necessary put health in the middle of the climate debate, since the climate crisis is also a health crisis: air pollution and global warming kill around 7 million people a year and contribute to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
In a comment to Sputnik, the cardiologist and surgeon Vladimir Joroschev He explained that global warming not only accelerates the spread of infectious diseases, but also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction or strokes, since changes in atmospheric pressure damage the interior of blood vessels and arteries. This, in turn, causes the formation of plaques and clots.
The inhabitants of countries with protracted conflicts must also be entitled to medical assistance. WHO noted that workers and medical facilities in conflict zones remain the target of attacks. In fact, in 2019 there were 978 attacks against medical facilities that resulted in the lives of 193 people. However, the most important thing is to find a solution to end conflicts.

The gap between rich and poor and, consequently, in the quality of people’s health, it is another challenge facing the health system. “WHO works to improve child and maternal care, nutrition, gender equality, mental health and access to adequate water and sanitation,” says the document.

Also, more than 30% of the people on the planet they lack access to medicationsIn addition to vaccines or other essential products and tools, something that endangers their lives and can even increase antibiotic resistance, capable of “sending to modern medicine decades ago, when they had not been discovered.”
The reasons for this phenomenon include factors such as prescription and unregulated use of these medications, in addition to the lack of access to quality and affordable drugs.
Infectious diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis or tuberculosis, could kill up to 4 million people – mostly poor people – during this decade.

“The fundamental causes of this problem are insufficient levels of financing and the weakness of health systems in endemic countries,” said WHO.

In addition, we can expect a inevitable pandemic, as world leaders spend more on responding to disease outbreaks and other emergencies instead of trying to prevent them.

“It is not about whether another pandemic will attack, but when and how much it will attack, as it will spread rapidly and potentially threaten millions of lives,” the organization warns.

The lack of healthy food It is another challenge, according to WHO. The fact is that unhealthy diets high in sugar, saturated fat and salt are responsible for almost 30% of diseases. “The food shortage is exploited perniciously as a weapon of war,” warns the agency.
It is also necessary invest more in those who defend our health, since the lack of a living wage causes a shortage of doctors worldwide. However, the planet “will need an additional 18 million health workers by 2030, mainly in low and middle-income countries.”
The teenagers protection It is also an urgent problem for the international community. The WHO warned that more than one million young people between 10 and 19 die each year. The main causes include road traffic injuries, HIV, suicides, infections and violence.

Health services – committed to “the uncontrolled dissemination of erroneous information on social networks, as well as the erosion of trust in public institutions” – need gain public trust so that people have access to effective and affordable services in their own communities.

The positive use and better understanding of new technologies – such as genome editing or synthetic biology – it could also help improve the global health system.

“Without a deeper understanding of their ethical and social implications, these new technologies, which include the ability to create new organisms, could harm the people they should help,” WHO explained.

The agency also warned that about 25% of health facilities lacks basic water services, which increases the probability of infection.

“All this happens in a context of billions of people around the world who live in communities without adequate drinking water or sanitation services,” said WHO.

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