Mastering Global Public Healthby greenspacewriter 09/09/2012
Every year, it seems, healthcare systems and policies become more and more prevalent in the news. Nearly every online news source features a health section, covering everything from announcements of new drug approvals to breakdowns of the Affordable Care Act.
Regular visits to such pages can reveal the high level of activity surrounding public health issues today. Recently, in fact, it was reported that researchers in South Africa believe that they have discovered a one-step malaria drug. Though the drug has not yet begun the clinical trial phase in humans - nor will they before next year - the drug’s potential to cure a disease that threatens nearly half of the world’s population, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Those at the highest risk of infection are populations living in developing countries. The WHO reported that 90% of deaths from malaria in 2010 occurred in Africa; most of the disease’s victims are young children. Through the implementation of certain preventative measures, malaria-related deaths have decreased significantly in the past few years, but successful development of a cure could dramatically change - and save - the lives of billions.
Although Americans seldom give a second thought to the risk of malaria or even diseases like polio and tuberculosis, cases of which are largely unheard of with US borders today, these illnesses are an everyday reality for many communities around the world.
As we become more active about changing our own healthcare system, we should also consider US organizations and programs that are addressing global public health issues. Organizations like PATH, with the help of grant funding and partnerships with the government and private companies, work to take steps towards eliminating widespread devastation brought on by disease, some of which are preventable already.
While New Yorkers certainly make for a large and diverse community, city dwellers, and all Americans, must contextualize their own urban community and realize that the greater common good extends beyond US borders.
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