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The Top Threats to Global Health in 2019

Dr. Munir Hussain

2 min read

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has released data regarding the health concerns in 2019, for which a five-year strategic plan, the 13th General Program of Work has been put into place. The idea is to ensure that 1 billion more people have access to health care, general physicians protection from health emergencies and better health.

The top concerns of WHO, this year, include the following diseases:

1- Climate change and air pollution:

A great risk to human health according to the WHO is air pollution, and the diseases it causes. Every year seven million people die prematurely due to the microscopic pollutants that penetrate into the body. Such pollutants go on to damage the lungs, circulatory system, cause stroke and even cancer. Most of these deaths are seen in developing countries that still rely on burning fossil fuels, and have cook stoves in the homes.

Climate change can also have a massive impact on people’s health in the coming years. In fact, between 2030 and 2050, 0.25 million additional deaths are expected to occur, due to climate change. Climate change impacts people’s health by increasing natural disasters and decreasing access to clean water. The result is malnutrition, diarrhoea, malaria and heat stress.

2- Non-communicable diseases:

Apart from communicable diseases, WHO also recognizes non-communicable diseases like stroke, cancer, heart diseases and diabetes as grave threats to global health. These diseases are responsible for more than 70 percent deaths around the world—a whopping 41 million people. The most affected demographic includes the middle-aged and the elderly. Moreover, these diseases can exacerbate mental illness in the young, leading to increased suicide rates.

Many factors aggravate these illnesses, including physical inactivity, poor eating habits, air pollution, and tobacco use. Therefore, another target of the WHO this year is to decrease physical inactivity by at least 15 percent, by the year 2030.

3- Influenza pandemic:

The flu virus can rapidly spread, and this year, this pandemic is expected to be huge. Even though the WHO is constantly monitoring the circulation of this virus, we don’t know when or how big it is actually going to be.

The influenza virus has different strains, and every year, different types of this virus cause disease. WHO makes the recommendation of which strains should be included in the flu vaccine, and this year too, WHO has set up a system to ensure equitable access to vaccines, especially for developing countries.

4- Resistance to antibiotics:

Antimicrobial resistance is developing throughout the world due to the unprecedented use of antibiotics and antivirals. In recent times, we are seeing so much resistance to medication that we are unable to easily treat infections such as typhoid, pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhoea. The consequences of this resistance are huge, from comprising surgery to chemotherapy.

Diseases such as tuberculosis are showing resistance to multiple first-line agents. In the year 2017, 0.6 million cases of TB were found resistant to rifampin (a first line anti-tuberculosis drug). Recently, typhoid bug in Sindh has been found to be resistant to three first-line drugs, thus making it exceptionally difficult to treat.

It is important now, more than ever, to stay ahead of the disease, and get regular check-ups and work-ups done. If you are not up-to-date with your physicals, then book an appointment with a top general physician in Multan, Lahore and Rawalpindi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Munir Hussain - Author Dr. Munir Hussain Shah is among the Best Nutritionists in Multan. Dr. Munir Hussain Shah is a Nutritionist practicing in Multan. Dr. Munir Hussain Shah has the following degrees: MBBS, PGD (ALOU) and has 32 years of experience.
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