Public Health is Our Health – Get Involved
April 19, 2016
What do you think about when you hear the phrase ‘public health issue’? Flu, cardiovascular disease, pollution? Or cancer, antibiotic resistance, obesity? What we consider issues of public health come from our cultural mind-set, what hemisphere we live in, and how much our governments, and we as individuals, can afford to spend.
But public health is no longer a local issue, or even a national one. It’s a pressing international issue with a complex web of causes and solutions. Our world is interconnected like never before. It’s estimated that treatable health problems cost our global economy tens of trillions of dollars each year. And that effects everyone.
In the developing world in particular, people who want to work and contribute to the global economy, are impeded by simple, easily treatable diseases. A father can’t work because a parasite has caused his legs to balloon. (See the OSE post about the breakthrough treatment for this condition). A mother can’t take care of herself and her family because debilitating depression took hold after a child died of malnutrition. A daughter isn’t learning because her vision is blurry and there is no eye doctor within miles. The cost to treat all these issues is low, but access to treatment is lacking for a huge proportion of the world’s population. Who should take up these challenges if governments are either too poor or too disorganized to do so? Us.
Here’s the Spring Challenge from OSE. Think about what public health issue you care about. Not sure what they are? Visit The Humanosphere web site to read about the top ten global health issues affecting the world today. Then, don’t simply contribute money to an organization devoted to the issue. Learn about the problem. It’s as easy as registering for email updates on the topic. For instance, one of our OSE editors follows Clearly, an organization devoted to bringing basic eye care and glasses to the over 2.5 billion people affected by treatable poor vision. You can join their mailing list and get updated on their efforts. How about contraception for women so they can achieve a full education and choose the number of children they have? The U.S. and U.K.- based Women Care Global distributes contraception in over 100 countries, primarily Africa, Asia and Latin American.
Get your kids involved. Have them research a public health topic. Or get them to help you make an online donation and use the process as an opportunity to talk about how life is vastly different in other areas of the world. Use photos found online to create a storyboard around the problem and ask them to develop their own solutions. Feeling a part of the global community has never been so easy…or so important. And don’t forget to tell your kids that scientists are vital to finding solutions to our global public health issues.
For an in depth analysis read this Harvard study on the global burden of public health issues.
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