The Impact Of Infectious Diseases

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Do infectious diseases pose a big global health threat? Infectious diseases have been around for centuries and each year we discover new outbreaks around the world. One of our primary goals in global health is to prevent the spread of disease by adopting new technologies and providing primary prevention health education to ensure people live a prolonged life. Communicable diseases such as foodborne diseases do not only spread within a country, but can also easily transcend borders through international trade and travel (Philpott, 2015). There are an estimated thirteen million people who die each year from an infectious or parasitic disease (WHO, 2016a). The World Health Organization (WHO) (2016a) states that in developing countries
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Although throughout the years we have worked hard to prevent NCDs, it is reported by Ebrahim and Smeeth (2005) that NCDs have also become the major health threat in lower-middle income countries. We are seeing that NCDs are playing an increasingly important role in countries with lower incomes. In figure 3 we give the number of deaths worldwide in 2008 organized by cause, geographical region, income, and sex, provided by the WHO (2011i). From this figure we infer that for both males and females, the higher the income class, the higher the fraction of deaths that is caused by NCDs. Furthermore, we can see that for all income classes except the low-income class, NCDs form the biggest cause group of death. For the low-income class the dominant cause of death is communicable, maternal, perinatal, and nutritional conditions. Figure 4 provides the death rates for different NCDs by income group and was created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2013), cited by Daniels, Donilon, and Bollyky (2014, p.13). From this figure we can conclude that the lower the income group, the higher the death rates caused by NCDs. In particular, we see that low and lower-middle income countries deal with higher numbers of cardiovascular and circulatory diseases. One of the reasons cardiovascular diseases form a big issue in those countries is the fact that many people do not receive proper health care services. Due to the lack of appropriate healthcare, many patients die sooner than necessary (WHO, 2016k). Another rising issue in households where financial income is limited, is that families may purchase unhealthy cheap foods that are high in sugar and fat, leading to a higher prevalence of NCDs such as diabetes (Whittaker, Hodge, and Lewis,

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