Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Code blue for global health

Given the technological advances in the field of medicine, the possibilities for a healthy population are endless. However, given the current scenario, all these would remain just that – possibilities.

Communicable diseases
The prevalence of communicable diseases is a key social determinant as its occurrence is often concentrated in poor countries where sanitation, access to health care facilities, and nutrition are often problematic.

Tuberculosis, for example, remains to be a public health concern in most developing nations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1/3 of the world’s population is infected with TB bacillus. In 2004, the Southeast Asian region recorded the highest number of new cases, accounting for 33 percent of recorded cases. The sub-Sahara African region, meanwhile, had the highest per capita incidence estimated at 400 cases per 100,000 population.

WHO also put to 1.7 million the number of deaths caused by TB. While highlighting the need for a comprehensive TB program, the report also put a positive spin on the control of the disease. It noted that in five out of six WHO regions, TB incidences were either stable or falling. The exception was sub-Saharan South Africa where the rising incidence of HIV/AIDS contributes to the growing number of TB cases.


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