In certain impoverished nations, unless you pay at the reception, you cannot see a medical professional–even if you are bleeding, there is nothing they can do other than give you a cloth to wrap and stop the bleeding and that’s if someone is kind enough. This means that you must pay out of pocket for healthcare services each time you see the doctor. In these countries, unemployment is very high, sanitation is very poor, and people are highly susceptible to illness not once or twice, but constantly, with no access to healthcare. As a result of having to pay for these services out of their own pockets, the lack of financial security increases families’ financial strain.
“Without health care, how can children reach their full potential? And without a healthy, productive population, how can societies realize their aspirations?” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Universal health coverage can help level the playing field for children today, in turn helping them break intergenerational cycles of poverty and poor health tomorrow.”
The most primary and infectious causes of death in developing nations are malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis. In fact, these diseases can be prevented in the same manner as in industrialized nations. Tuberculosis? implying that both adults and children lack access to immunization. Immunization, seriously? Everyone should be vaccinated against these deadly diseases, which have claimed countless lives before our great-grandparents were born. In the 1700s, tuberculosis was not only referred to as the white plague due to the sufferers’ pallor, but also as the “Captain of all these men of death.” Now that it is possible to contain the disease, why not do so in every region of the world and not only in wealthy nations?
If an outbreak occurs, it can affect people in both underdeveloped and developed countries. For example, Ebola emerged in 1976 in the DRC and South Sudan. After a period of few to no occurrences, an outbreak resurfaced between March 2014 and June 2016. This was the largest Ebola outbreak ever reported, with over 28,000 cases. This occurred not just in West Africa, but also in East Africa, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. If these regions of Africa had proper healthcare, the disease may have been efficiently contained. National and international authorities collaborated to help terminate this outbreak by building prevention programs and messages, as well as implementing policies with care. Personnel from the CDC were dispatched to West Africa to aid in response activities, including surveillance, contact tracing, data management, laboratory testing, and health education. In addition, the CDC team assisted with logistics, staffing, communication, analytics, and management.
During the height of the response, the CDC trained 24,655 West African healthcare professionals in infection prevention and control methods. In addition, by the end of 2015, 24 laboratories in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone were equipped to do Ebola virus testing. If all these strategies were done not only during pandemics, we would be able to avert a great number of outbreaks. These nations and others would be able to contain an outbreak before it spreads internationally. However, we wait until a pandemic threatens our minds before implementing laboratories and educating more healthcare staff in developing nations. Why not do this in the absence of a potentially deadly disease? Why not be prepared for anything that could affect us in both developed and poor countries?
We’re not ready for the next epidemic, Bill Gates remarked during the ebola outbreak. Obviously, Covid happened, and what appeared to be a simple sentence made so much sense. He went on to explain that we require a response system with the capacity to mobilize tens of thousands of healthcare staff. During his TED talk, he mentioned that in order to combat an epidemic, we need robust health systems in developing nations– where mothers can safely give birth there, and children can receive all of their vaccinations there. However, this is also where the outbreak will appear first.
“Past experiences taught us that designing a robust health financing mechanism that protects each individual vulnerable person from financial hardship, as well as developing health care facilities and a workforce including doctors to provide necessary health services wherever people live, are critically important in achieving ‘health for all,’” said Mr. Katsunobu Kato, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan.
What are we waiting for to improve healthcare in developing nations? In other words, what affects individuals in developing nations is likely to impact developed nations. Why not collaborate to create not only a better national healthcare system but also a universal healthcare system? Universal health means that everyone has access to and is covered by a well-organized and well-funded health system that provides quality and comprehensive health care and protects individuals from financial ruin if they utilize these services.
Guaranteeing the right to health means eliminating all kinds of barriers to accessing services…Dr. Carrissa F. Etienne– Director of the Pan American Health Organization
Some Key actions for Universal Health are:
- Expanding equitable access,- Initiating and gradually extending primary care models and comprehensive service delivery that are centered on people’s needs. Assuring the prudent utilization of medications and health technology.
- Increasing stewardship and governance by teaching and empowering people and communities about their health-related rights and duties and encouraging them to participate in the development of health-related policies.
- Increasing and enhancing finance through eliminating payments at the point of service entry, identifying sustainable means of increasing health financing, and financially protecting individuals. These are only a few examples; the list is far longer.
World Bank and WHO: Half the world lacks access to essential health services, 100 million still pushed into extreme poverty because of health expenses. (n.d.). World Bank; http://www.worldbank.org. Retrieved June 7, 2022, from https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/12/13/world-bank-who-half-world-lacks-access-to-essential-health-services-100-million-still-pushed-into-extreme-poverty-because-of-health-expenses
CDC. (2022, January 14). World TB Day History. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; http://www.cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/tb/worldtbday/history.htm
Fact sheet about malaria. (2022, April 6). Malaria; http://www.who.int. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malaria
2014-2016 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa | History | Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease) | CDC. (2019, March 8). 2014-2016 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa | History | Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease) | CDC; http://www.cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/history/2014-2016-outbreak/index.html#:~:text=The%20patient%20recovered.,hospitals%20in%20the%20United%20States.
Universal health coverage (UHC). (2021, April 1). Universal Health Coverage (UHC); http://www.who.int. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/universal-health-coverage-(uhc)
Gates, B. (n.d.). Bill Gates: The next outbreak? We’re not ready | TED Talk. Bill Gates: The next Outbreak? We’re Not Ready | TED Talk; http://www.ted.com. Retrieved June 7, 2022, from https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_the_next_outbreak_we_re_not_ready