As World Health Organization (WHO) finds the urgent need to overcome these health challenges in the new decade, the fifth challenge is about stopping infectious diseases.
According to an estimation given by WHO, infectious diseases such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Tuberculosis, and malaria will kill about 4 million people this year which is over 28 times the amount of those who died due to vaccine-preventable diseases in 2019. The organization revealed the reason being the root causes have insufficient levels of financing and the weakness of health systems in endemic countries, coupled with a lack of commitment from wealthy countries. The agency recently commemorated the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox.
In order to decrease this death toll, endemic countries i.e. countries who are more at risk need sufficient health funding to improve the quality of treatments, invest in research, and expand the outreach of immunization.
Concurrently, vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, continue to kill thousands of people each year, majority of them are children. WHO admitted that there is an urgent need for greater political will and increased funding for essential health services. This comprises of organizing greater efforts to attenuate the effects of drug resistance, and investing in research and development for new medicines, vaccines, and medical devices.
The organization is also working with countries and has collaborated with partners to strengthen health systems and improve preparedness for health crises in places plagued by conflict. WHO is collaborating with its partners to look after issues like child and maternal care and to improve the scenario under the same as well as improve nutrition, gender equality and mental health access.
WHO stressed that there is “an urgent need for greater political will” in order to stop infectious diseases and is working to strengthen routine immunization drives and protocols. General epidemics, like outbreaks of the flu, strike and spread quickly, and the organization is advising countries to invest more to strengthen health systems to keep populations safe when health emergencies arise.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO firmly told that all the challenges in this list demand a response from more than just the health sector. He further added that we face shared threats and we have a shared responsibility to act.
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WHO hopes to reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance by collaborating with experts in the environment by using their opinion, agriculture and animal sector. It has also established advisory committees for human genome editing and digital health to provide guidance and regulation on the development and use of new tools in the world of health care.
The WHO also listed other pressing issues which need to be tackled in the new decade. Few of them were unhealthy foods, education of health care workers and epidemic preparation.