GLOBAL HEALTH ISSUES
Global issue is a broad description that is often used to explain matters of great social concern that affect human populations locally and that are shared among diverse human societies within our global community. Global issues koncern us all and one at the heart of many valuable learning experiences. Issues such as environment al sustainability, health, peace building and human rights focus students attention and contemporary events and how they affect our lives at a local and global level. Many people argue that globalization has Server to bring the world closer together creating a more cooperative environment. The impact of new information and communication Technologies has changed the way people learn, work and live. From the suffering of the Second World War emerged a new international organization- the United Nations.
The United Nations founding, In 1945, enabled its Member States and their peoples to work together to promote peace and cooperation, economic and social development, and a clear Visio codified by international law.
In 1981, one of the leading causes of death in our time broke upon the world scene. The new ailment was named acquired immune deficiency syndrome(AIDS) and also Human immunodeficiency virus(HIV).
HIV means that you have tested positive for the virus and it does not become AIDS usually for ten years or until immune system problems appear.
HIV/AIDS causes immense suffering to millions of people. UNAIDS (the joint United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS showed that HIV/AIDS has bee diagnosted in every continent on the globe, yeti t is distribution is far from even.
One of the many consequences of the pandemic is that it has a major impact of life expentancy among the worlds poorer countries. The impact of AIDS on life expectancy is also felt beyond Africa, albeit somewhat less dramatically. Haiti’s life expectancy is currently almost six years less than it world heve been without AIDS, in Combodia it is currently four years lower. South Africa has also been affected, in Guana, for example, the probability of becoming HIV- positive between the ages of 15 and 50 is 19% or nearly 1 in 5. North America, for example, has 950.000 people living with HIV/AIDS and Western Europe 550.000 whilst in Australia and New Zealand 15.000 people (UNAIDS, 2002).
In Africa, 28 million people are infected with HIV and 11 million African children are thought to heve been orphaned by AIDS (WHO, 2000).
Kopelan and van Niekerk (2002) suggested that the scale of the HIV/AIDS epidmic in Africa is often explained away by pre-existing notions of a diseased, corrupt and backward continent and they argue, forcefully, for international support, albeit with reather than for African countries.
Unfortunatelly biomedical and pharmaceutical responses have had a relatively small impact upon the pandemic. Attempts to devlop vaccines, for example, have had limited success and these endeavours have probably been hindered by the allocation of relatively Modest amounts of funding. Between US dollars 300-and US dollars 600-million a year have been spent on the development of HIV vaccines(UNAIDS, 2002).
There has been more success in the development of antiretroviral drugs and these are prolonging thousands of ives in high- income countries(Babiker et al., 2002).
However, these drugs continue to remain inaccessible to the majority of those infected by HIV.
Since the people most affected by HIV/AIDS are often those with the least access to economic power or political influence it is, perhaps, hardly surprising that so many governments offer such a lukewarm response( de Wall,2002).
In many of the poorer countries in which HIV/AIDS predominates, and where people with AIDS have little or no access to medical care or treatment, responsibility for the care of the dying ultimately falls on the poorest households (Ellison et al.,2001).
In countries where governments do not take the initiative in responding to HIV/AIDS, and where the disease is often shrouded in stigma and denial, there is unlikely to be widespread popular presure for change. In this way, at an individual and a social level, the enormity of AIDS and the burden of copying tend to get hidden in the lives of ordinary familie( Palloni and Lee, 1992).
UNAIDS Global Reference Group on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights (2004) ensuring rights based approach is: the global scalling up of the response to AIDS, particulary in relation HIV testing as a preveguisite to expanded access to treatment, must be grounded in sound public health practice and also respect protection, and fulfilment of human rights norms and standarts. The voluntariness of testing must remain at the heart of HIV policies and programmes, both to comply with human rights principles and to ensure sustained public health benefits. The following key factors, which are mutually reinforcing, should be addressed simultanously :
- Ensuring an ethical process for conducting the testing, including defining the purpose of the test and benefits to the individuals being tested and assurances of linages between the site where the test is conducted and relevant treatmant care and other services, in an environment that guarantees confidentiality of all medical inforamtion.
- Adressing the implications of a positive test results, including non discrimination and access to sustainable treatment and care for people who test positive.
- Reducing HIV/AIDS- related stigma and discrimination at all levels, notably within health care settings.
- Ensuring a supportive legal and policy framework within which the respons eis scaled up, including safeguarding the human rights of people seeking services.
The HV/AIDS epidemic has deep historical roots. The epidemic have to be seen against this broad background. There are lessons to be learned, not Just about this disease, but about health, well-being and development as well.It is the first global epidemic of which we have been commonly conscious. Health and well-being are not individual concerns: they are global issues. There are opportunities for innovation and for more ‘goods’ but there is only a glimmer of hope . These are:
- Global intersectoral action through transnational co-operation and partnerships between public health and trade and finance sectors.
- Pro vide information about comparative health status and global determinants of health and well-being.
- Research programmes that concentrate on developing cost-effective technologies to improve the status of the poor.
- Recognition that management of health and well-being is a common human project and that the for-profit sector can only have limited incentives to meet those needs (Alonso, 2001).
But there are many abstacles because we need to persuade people of the true cost of HIV/AIDS and business has a role to play, but the business of business is profit no welfare. Perhaps that is also an assumption that must be challenged. In the same way that HIV/AIDS is about more than health, so business has responsibilities beyond three complementary mechanisms: the market- distribution through competitive pricing, second one is the hierarchy- distribution through organisation process and the last one is values- distribution as a response to accepted ethical principles (Alonso, 2001). Through unprecedented global attention and intervention ef fors, the rate of new HIV infections has showed and prevalence rate have leveled off globally and in many regions. Despite the progress seen in some countries and regions, the total number of people living with HIV continues to rise (Barnett and Prins, 2006).
In 2007, globally about 2 million people died of AIDS, 33 million were living with HIV and 2,7 million people where newly infected with the virus (WHO, 2008).
The impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls has been particulary devastating. Women and girls now comprise 50 percent of those aged 15 and older living with HIV but, the impact of HIV/AIDS on children and young people is a severe and growing problem. In 2007, 370,000 children underage 15 were infected with HIV and 270,000 died of AIDS and about 15 million children have lost one or both parents due to the disease (WHO, 2008). The sixth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) focuses on stopping and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. Global funding is increasing, but global need is growing even faster-widening the funding gap. Services and funding are disproportionately available in developed countries. HIV infections and AIDS deaths are unevenly distributed geographically and the nature of the epidemics very by region. Epidemics are abating in some coutries and burgeoning in others. More than 90 percent of people with HIV are living in the developing worl (UNICEF, 2007).
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The health care systems of most African countries, already inadequate. As the serious nature of the pandemic and it is effect on the developing world came into sharper focus in the 1990’s, so did the incoherence of international policy. The nature of the crisis was given recognition in 1995 when the United Nations set up UNAIDS to co-ordinate global policy by bringing together under one heading six key international agencies: WHO, UNDP, UNICEF, UNEPA, UNESCO and the World Bank. The re-orientation of policy towards AIDS was proposed, more or less across the board, in the face of increasingly pessimistic forecasts of the effects, both short and long term of the pandemic on whole populations in Africa (Ellison et al.,2003).
In Southern Africa insurance companies are gathering such information because they routinely test people before offering cover. These data are biased to those applying for policies and are often comercially sensitive and so they tend not to be publicly available. For companies wishing to estimate how the epidemic is going to affect their workforce, the advert of saliva and urine tests mean, surreys can be carried out more easily. This is a routine procedure to test blood donations and these data can provide a picture of what is going on in what should be a low- risk group. HIV data are also collected and constructed according to political, social and other biases (UNAIDS, 2000).
HIV/AIDS is not the first global epidemic, and it won’t be the last. It is the disease that is changing human history. HIV/AIDS shows up global inqualities. It is presence and impacts are left most profundly in poor countries and communities (Bernett and Whiteside, 2006). Public health system are undefunded; politically they attract few votes, and in parts of the world they are close to collapse. For the moment, there is only a mere itimation of any system of global public health. Social and economic conditions negate many gains made by any particular intervention. Health is not any about confronting individual diseases. Well-being, of which health is a part, is a reflection of general and economic conditions (Anderson and May, 1992).
Economic impact means that families suffer major economic problems as productive adults become ill, including: loss of income as family members become sick and are unable to work, or have to give up work to care for the sick and limited income being consumed by expensive drugs and funerals. Countries suffer significiant economic impacts including: los of investment in education and the knowledge and skills of professionally trained people, reduced ability to produce food and high costs of treatment and demands on health system (Adler, 2001).
Human and social impact means that people’s who lives are affected in many ways which include: a wide variety of physical health problems , social isolation due to stigma and misunderstanding of the spread of the disease (Barnett and Prins, 2006).
The purpose of workplace policy on HIV/AIDS in South Africa (UNAIDS, 2008) is to provide clarity on TOTALs views and commitments with regard to HIV/AIDS and the comprehensive management of HIV positive employees and employees living with AIDS. TOTAL is fully committed to protect employees, create awarness, encourage behaviour changes where necessary as well as ensure that all employees are treated with the necessary dignity, fairness and equality (USAID, Global Partnership, 2004).
Some major reasons for unnecessary deaths around the world are therefore due to human decisions and politics, not just natural outcomes. Well- intentioned companies, organizations and global action show that humanisty and compassion still exists, but tackling systematic problems is parramount for effective, Universal health care that all are entitled too. Addressing health problems goes Beyond just medical treatments and policies; it goes to the heart of social, economic and political policies that not only provide for healthier lives, but a more productive and meaningful one that can benefit other areas of society.
- De Wall, A. (2006) Aids and power. South Africa
- Barnett, T., Whiteside, A. (2006) Aids in the Twenty- First Century, Disease and Globalization. 2nd ed. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Hunter, S. (2003) Who cares? Aids in Africa. New York.
- Bond, G. C., et al. (1997) Aids in Africa and the Carribbean
- Ellison, G., et al. (2003) Learning from HIV and AIDS. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Barnett, T. and Parkhust, J.(2005) HIV/AIDS : sex, abstinence and behaviour change. Lancet Infections diseases. 5 (9), 2-5.
- Stillwagon, E. (2005) Aids and the ecology of powerty. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- UNAIDS Global Epidemic Report (2000), accessed on 25/11/09, (http://www.unaids.org/).
- Centres for Disease control and prevention from: ( http://www.cdc.gov).
- Anderson, M. and May, R. (1992) Infections disease oh humans: Dynamics and control. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Adler, M.(2001) The ABC of AIDS. London.
- Farmer, P.,(1999) Infection and Inequalities: the modern plaques.California: University of California Press.
- Barnett, T. and Prins, G. (2006) HIV/AIDS and security: Fact, Fiction and Evidence. London.
- Caldwell, J.C., Caldwell, P. and Quiggin, P.(1989) The social context of AIDS in Sub- Saharan Africa. Population and Development Review. 15(2), 185-234.
- UNICEF (2000) The Progress of Nations. New York.
- World Health Organization (2000) The World Health Report 2000: Health Systems- Improving Performance. Geneva.
- Palloni, A. and Lee, Y. J.(1992) Some aspects of the social context oh HIV and it is effectson woman, children and familie. Population Bulletin of the United Nations. 33(2): 64-87.
- Garnett, G. et al. (2002) Antiretrovival therapy to treat and prezent HIV/AIDS in resource-poor settings. Nature Medicine.8(6): 651-654.
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