Abstract Picture of a computer virus / courtesy of Yuri Samoilov/flickr
This article was originally published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on 31 May 2016.
Growing populations, rising global temperatures, urbanization, and easier trade and travel are all changing the world in ways conducive to the spread of infectious disease. The recent Ebola and Zika outbreaks have dominated news headlines and their toll has been terrible, but a more lethal infectious disease could do far worse harm.
“For infectious diseases, you cannot trust the past when planning for the future,” warned Margaret Chan, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), at the World Health Assembly last week in Geneva. “What we are seeing,” she said, is “a dramatic resurgence of the threat from emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. The world is not prepared to cope.”
The Ebola virus
This article was originally published by the Harvard International Review on 15 April 2016.
On the heels of the annual International Monetary Fund/World Bank conference and an Ebola-ridden year, the world is reminded of the significance of global health policy, not only for disease prevention but also for international relationships and the future direction of health care. Recent international health initiatives have pragmatically stressed the importance of defense and economics. This slant, particularly in the relatively new Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), raises questions about future approaches to global health. The GHSA has acquired significant funding for outbreak response, but its treatment of global health as an international security issue rather than a humanitarian one warrants a cautious assessment. » More
Administering a vaccine to a child
This article was originally published by IPI Global Observatory on 5 February 2016.
On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern, with the potential to infect up to four million people in the Americas by year’s end. Under increasing pressure to slow the spread of the disease, the Brazilian government has stepped up its response, including mobilizing 220,000 military personnel to cities across the country.
According to Brazil’s ministry of health, the military will be used to spread awareness by going door-to-door, handling out pamphlets, and distributing mosquito repellent. However, it is believed that the troops will also use this opportunity to identify which homes are potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes and target those sites for surveillance and fumigation. Mosquitoes are known to carry the Zika virus, which has been linked with the rare congenital condition microcephaly in newborn babies.
US Army Capt. administring a vaccine to a Pakistani child, 2006. Photo: US Military/Wikimedia Commons
The huge rise in militancy across Pakistan (pdf) is also creating a number of hazards for aid workers. On New Year’s Day gunmen on motorbikes ambushed and killed six female aid workers and a doctor in Khayber-Pakhtunkhwa province. It marked the latest in a series of attacks on polio vaccination charity workers.
On December 18, five female aid workers were killed as they were administering polio vaccinations. The following day another polio supervisor was killed along with her driver in north-western town of Peshawar. » More
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This week, we will be focusing on the issue of global health from the following perspectives: global health funding, horizontal vs. vertical health aid, the ‘rationing’ of care, the global health governance architecture and the AIDS pandemic.
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