Wellness ... good health ... is a most valuable aspect of the human condition. The idea that 'prevention is better than sure' is especially valid when it comes to human health.
Health Sector Financing
The world was becoming in healthier place as a result of some amazing
advances in medicine and some well organized international interventions to
intervene to end some terrible diseases like smallpox and polio.
But something appears now to be going wrong. Instead of further progress in eradicating
disease and reducing mortality and morbidity, there is tremendous backsliding.
There are financial constraints in public health that are constraining everything
in the health sector. The amount of money for public health in almost every
country in the SOUTH is so limited that health services are bound to be
inadequate. International official development assistance (ODA) is not enough
either. ODA does not start to address the health funding deficit.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, to his credit, raised the issue of the growing crisis of healthcare financing at the UN, and was instrumental in having a Global Fund for HIV-AIDS, Tubruculosis and Malara (GFATM) launched. In its inaugural year the GFATM was able to mobilize
around $3 billion, a substantial achievement, even though the requirements
were for something more like $10 billion.
But the health sector is a problem area. It is something of a symbol of failed
development. Progress was made, but the progress has not been sustained, and
now there is a high probability that poverty is going to be more and more
accompanied by health crisis as well.
HIV-AIDS and other killer diseases
But beyond the financing issues, there appear to be medical and scientific issues
as well. The HIV-AIDS pandemic has changed the population dynamics of the
whole of Africa, and in the hardest hit countries the expectation of life has
dropped by more than 10 years in less than 5 years. Instead of moving up into
the 60s, and a continuation of thirty years of steady progress, expectation of life
has started to drop dramatically. With more than 3 million dying prematurely of
AIDS related disease in a single year, the people of Africa are having to face an
But it is not the only health crisis. Malaria continues to be a tremendous killer,
and where it does not kill it still has a debilitating impact on an individual.
Children are badly impacted by malaria. And the easy curatives for malaria are
becoming less effective as more and more malaria becomes resistant to
And after years of progress with tuberculosis, TB infection is again growing and
becoming more and more widespread. And again, the TB strain that is
spreading is one that is resistant to easy and low cost medication.
While there are many views about why disease is growing so fast now after
years of progress, it is highly likely that poor medical services and lack of
higuene are part of the problem. The writer is convinced that unsafe medical
practices are feeding into the growing health crisis, especially unsafe injections
and other procedures that result in blood contamination. The use of dirty
needles is widespread, especially in the informal settings where people expect a
health intervention to include getting an injection.