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Why global health matters

It is every human being’s right to enjoy a state of complete mental, physical, and social well being on this planet. However, health is also a right that is unequally distributed throughout the world due to lack of access to proper healthcare facilities and professionals, lack of sanitation, feeble vaccination delivery systems, and treatment-oriented healthcare systems rather than preventative systems.

Today there are more than one million avoidable child deaths per year, and more than 6 million children still die before their fifth birthday each year. More than half of these early child deaths are due to conditions that could be prevented or treated with access to simple, affordable interventions. According to the WHO 2014 report, 842,000 diarrheal disease deaths per year are attributable to inadequate drinking water and proper sanitation.

Unequal distribution of healthcare professionals typically results from a lack of delivery of quality healthcare to under-served regions of the world. These critical shortages, inadequate skill, and uneven geographic distribution of health professionals pose major barriers to achieving the preferred state of the global healthcare system. In developing countries such as Tanzania, physician-patient ratio is 1:100,000. Meanwhile this ratio drastically changes for the developed parts of the world with the approximate ratio of 70:10,000. It is an urgent involvement call for the developed parts of the world’s medical schools to make policies that involve distribution of healthcare practitioners. Distribution of medical students to developing parts of the world through the addition of Global Health Clinical Rotations in medical schools’ third and forth year curriculum, which lasts between 4 to 8 weeks, would provide a setting for students to provide primary health education, prevention, and delivery of technology for the purpose of achieving the preferred state of the global healthcare system. This constant influx of medical students from developed parts of the world such as the United States, through the use of technological innovations, will provide an opportunity to build up a healthcare system that the developing parts of the world cannot accomplish on their own. Medical students who are traveling to under-served regions with the help of tablets can create electronic databases, and also through the use of healthcare applications can eliminate possible preventative diseases. Medical students can also bring a “Prevent-in-a-Box” kit with them and share the primary items of hygiene to the local people. The kit contains a toothbrush and toothpaste, water filter, hand sanitizer, de-worming pills, insecticide nets, micro-nutrient fortified supplements, and umbilical cord treatment. As the rotation is a part of the curriculum, the students can be replaced continuously during the whole year.

Providing vaccines to under-served countries is one way to improve global health. Image Credit: Steven Deplo, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.
Providing vaccines to under-served regions is one way to improve global health. Image Credit: Steven Deplo, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.

The implementation of the Global Health Clinical Rotation program will provide opportunities for medical students to increase their awareness of current status on global health, thus raising incentives to depart to developing parts of the world as future physicians, which will increase the amount of doctors and availability of medical services in under-served regions of the world. Increase in healthcare practitioners will provide an opportunity to introduce technology that will bring many benefits in the current status of the healthcare system in developing parts of the world since the usage of technology can prevent many possible diseases that result in deaths, and build a healthcare system and educate the locals. Involvement of technology and constant involvement of healthcare professionals promote preventative healthcare, which will increase life expectancy in developing countries, enrich quality of life, decrease child mortality rate, and ensure all children live long, healthy lives.

Humanity and medicine cannot stay insensitive toward the inequality that more than half of the world is facing at this point because health is not luxury and is a basic human right for all. Minor steps that are taken by medical schools in developing parts of the world can have a major impact on how the rest of the world develops and frees from deterioration, which in the long term has significant effects on overall well-being for all of humanity. It is clear at this point that under-served parts of the world that are lacking basic infrastructure will not be able to decrease the physician and patients ratio without help from developed parts of the world. Providing quality of life to all human beings is an oath that every healthcare professional takes and faith in medicine and technology can provide hope to people who live in poverty and think that suffering is their destiny.

Feature Image: Access to adequate drinking water is an important element of quality world health. Image Credit: McKay Savage, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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