The beginning of every New Year comes with a promise of hope and concern.
It was no different
for 2017. New threats and new regimes promised to tug the world of global
health in different and unknown directions. In fact, everyone is already
feeling the road of change among us.
As the year wears on, the global health sector is filled
with measured hope for progress and a huge air of uncertainty. Climate change,
refugee crises, and global migration are also in the list of the things
affecting the global state of health. If you come to think of it, the course of
these three will come to affect the state of global health for many coming
decades or centuries.
Three quarters of the way through the year is an
appropriate moment to reflect on what 2017 has done to the state of health;
have we achieved anything?
Alternatively, has complacency taken centre stage allowing
apathy to set it? We look at some of the outstanding health issues that would
objectively show the highs and lows facing the health sector in 2017.
The era of superbug
A Nevada woman visited India where she broke her thigh and
got a bacterial infection. That was last summer. Back in Nevada, she went in
for treatment. As the world knows it, antibiotics would stop the infection. But
this time they did not.
Not just one type of antibiotics but rather the 26 of them
available in the world today could not stop the bacterial infection.
As it came to be called in the medical corridors, this was
a superbug. It could not be stopped by the extensive medicine arsenal the world
has today. Sadly, these incurable infections are claiming 700,000 lives each
After the UN General Assembly recommended some ways to deal
with the threat last September, this is yet to be put into action.
The perilous complacency around HIV
If it was possible for fatigue and progress to reproduce
then they would surely call it Complacency?
The world has come far with HIV. You can now comfortably
say treatment and management of the virus are at a better place. Dealing with
stigma is no longer a big problem among victims and their families. The world
has come to understand HIV. Great achievement you would say.
However, that is how far the good news goes about HIV. In a
place like Namibia, HIV infection rate among women stand at 31%.
People no longer see HIV as a threat: they perceive it as a
normal life condition. That is dangerous. Complacency has set it and the
results are new infections that in a single swipe could take to drain all the
achievement the world has had all these years.
Zika has settled in
Approximately a year ago, the World Health Organization
declared a state of emergency for Zika virus. Surprisingly, 10 months later the
emergency was lifted. Why? It is no longer a threat. No vaccine for Zika yet.
The virus is not going away. Just like yellow fever and malaria, Zika is not
The world had better prepare because it is far from over
A dead end for reproductive health
With new world leaders taking office in the last 12 months,
reproductive health funding took a turn for the worse.
Bodies under the umbrella of better reproductive health
have had to deal with constrained funding and bureaucracy in getting projects
approved. The world is at a better place with very few maternal death rates,
teen births and abortions. But the politics around reproductive health
threatens to bring down all the achievements.
In terms of health, the world is at a better place in 2017
than the years before. New vaccines, continued research and societies that are
more informed are some of the things to be proud of. However, complacency and
bad politics threaten to wash away all that has been achieved. It is time
humanity puts its best interests first and health is one of them.
And remember, Mayfair cares.