Among the several global health care issues, infectious diseases pose the greatest challenge to most healthcare systems around the globe. Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, have shown an increasing trend in the recent past. These diseases include tuberculosis, cholera, malaria, small pox, pneumonia, and measles among others. Other emerging infectious diseases in the recent past include swine flu and SARS. The adverse effects of communicable diseases are severe among the poor populations in the developing nations because of poor healthcare systems of such nations (Breman & Mills, 2004, p.12). Most of the people in developing nations have limited or no access to proper healthcare as well as preventive measures to such diseases. According to Bryce, the most vulnerable group to these diseases is children under the age of five years (2005, p. 151). In addition, the spread of communicable diseases is increasing among the people suffering from HIV/AIDS. According to Hunt, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is portraying an increasing trend, communicable diseases have become more common around the globe with tuberculosis taking the lead (2009, p. 457).
Statistics show that there have been more than 9.2 million new cases of tuberculosis (Jamison, Mearsham, & Evans, 2006, p.115). In 2007, W.H.O reported 500,000 new cases of drug resistant tuberculosis mainly in East Europe, South East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Research shows that, nearly fifteen million people die every year due to communicable diseases (World Food Programme, 2009, p.3). In 2008, approximately 1 million people died of malaria. The great proportion of those dying from these diseases lives in developing countries. Besides claiming the lives of millions of people, infectious diseases lead to the deterioration of the health of adults making them to live miserably. In extreme cases, infectious diseases cause disability to the victims. The implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is one of the efforts that the world has made towards curbing the spread of infectious diseases (Chatelain, & Loset, 2009, p.53). The global Health Council appeals to the global community to join hands in reducing the severity of infectious diseases especially in the developing nations.
Key Indicators of the Health Environment of a Country
Environmental public health indicators are essential in accessing the safety of the county’s population. The key indicators predict the relationship between human health and the environment (Lewis, 2003, p.144). There are several indicators-hazard indicators, health effect indicators, intervention indicators, and exposure indicators.
In the environment, several aspects pose a great risk to the health of an individual; therefore, health indicators should ensure that the people whose health is at risk take proper preventive measures. These indicators include the level of air pollutants in the air, level of contaminants in water, point-source discharges in ambient water, and chemical spills in the environment (Carrincross & Valdamanis, 2006, p.34). In addition, the amount and the pattern of pesticides use is an important public health indicator.
Health effect Indicators
These health indicators show the safety of the environment to the people within a given nation. They may include issues such as cases of hearing loss, temperature-attributed deaths, pesticide-related poisoning, and reports of unusual illnesses among the population as well as the prevalence of outbreaks associated with consumption of contaminated water.
It is the obligation of the community to take measures to curb the spread as well as to prevent the occurrence of life-threatening diseases. Intervention indicators show the responsiveness of a community in addressing health threats in a nation (Dye, & Floyd, 2006, p.291). The intervention indicators include implementation of policies and programs that address environmental pollution as well implementation of community sanitary surveys.
These indicators provide information on the level of environmental pollutants that find their way to the human body. This information is essential in formulating measures of preventing the increase in levels of pollutants in a given environment (Mark, Nazaroff, & Hubbard, 2005, p.148). Elevated levels of heavy metals in children’s blood are an example of exposure indicators.
Breman, J., & Mills, A. (2004). Conquering the Intolerable Burden of Malaria. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 71, 1-15.
Bryce, J. (2005). WHO Child Health Epidemiology: WHO estimates the Cause of Death In Children. Lancet, 365 (9465), 147-152.
Carrincross, S., & Valdmanis, V. (2006). Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene. Washington DC: Oxford.
Chatelain, E., & Loset, J. (2009). Drug Discovery and Development for Neglected Diseases: The DNDi model. Preclinical Drug Development, 1, 52-61.
Dye, C., & Floyd, K. (2006). Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries. New York: Oxford.
Hunt, R. (2009). Introduction to Community Based Nursing. Philadelphia: Lippencot-Raven.
Jamison, D., Mearsham, A., & Evans, D. (2006). Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries. Washington, DC: The World Bank.
Lewis, T. L. (2003). Environmental Aid: Driven by Recipient Need or Donor Interests? Social Quarterly, 84, 144-161.
Mark, N., Nazaroff, W., & Hubbard, A. (2005). Towards Understanding the Risk of Secondary Airborne Infections: Emission of Respirable Pathogens. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 2 (3), 143-154.
World Food Programme. (2009). HIV/AIDS and TB: Addressing co-infections. Rome: World Food Programme.