Here are expert perspectives about the current top 10 threats to global health from leading global health experts as sought by Dr. Grace Ikahu Muchangi.
According to top global experts, the major current major threats to global health are as follows;
Global Economies and Health Financing
Dennis Okaka highlighted the differing economies in different countries and the stage of development as being major threats to global health. For instance, the GDP per capita and cost of care for a patient in Kenya will be different from one in Japan, hence Japan might find a therapy costing 50,000 USD as being cost-effective. These issues affect the health priorities and health financing approaches in countries
Other experts, including Dr. Judith Getugi – Kerini, Ndiang’ui (Joseph) Githinji, Lizzie Otaye, further outlined poor health financing as a threat to global health, as it leads to inadequate health insurance coverage of the population, excessive reliance on donors, and political influences as being.
Dr. Rajeev Mehta states that lack of global leadership to tackle key issues is a threat to global health, as it leads to an atmosphere of lack of trust among nations.
According to Dennis Okaka, good health policies and governance rely heavily on political goodwill and leadership, and this may be a threat to global health. This is because we may see some policies changing due to a change in the political environment of a country.
Environmental Issues and Climate Change
Environmental impacts of climate change and human-animal interaction (such as pollution and radiation), otherwise known as One Health, are also major global health threats, as they have led to the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases, sometimes due to redistribution of vectors. This is according to several experts, including Lamek Mageto, Gratien Mukeshimana, Dr. Rajeev Mehta, and Dr Ivana Haluskova – Balter.
Access to Healthcare
Ida Mbuthia and Dr. Judith Getugi – Kerini agree that lack of/delayed access to healthcare, as well as inequity in access to health especially lower and lower middle income countries, are threats to global health.
Non-communicable diseases, including mental health
Non-communicable diseases (Gratien Mukeshimana) and mental health (Lamek Mageto) especially among the youth and children are areas of growing concern, despite not being given priority at national-level policies.
Weak Health Systems
Weak health systems (Dr Ivana Haluskova – Balter), as well as fragile and vulnerable global settings (Gratien Mukeshimana), affect how health systems respond to health issues, and can indeed pose as threats to global health.
As highlighted by Lamek Mageto, the ease of movement across the globe makes it easier to spread diseases across various continents.
Other Threats to Global Health
- Lack of awareness across the patient journey on critical health issues, which encompasses the steps in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The lack of awareness affects the patient, healthcare providers and healthcare ecosystem ~ Ida Mbuthia
- Lack of proper information in health, coupled with inadequate knowledge or adequate training among healthcare workers, rising cases of unethical practice, as well as infiltration of non-professionals into healthcare ~ Judith Getugi – Kerini and Ndiang’ui (Joseph) Githinji
- Lack of alignment- speaking in a unified voice and universality of health guidelines ~ Lizzie Otaye