In the past few years, many of us have heard or read about these deadly diseases. Presently we are learning about the corona virus in China and various preventive steps taken worldwide. Ever wondered why these viruses in the past few years had created such havoc?
Well, to begin with, these diseases are referred to as disease outbreak. And to your surprise, they are not limited to these three viruses only. Also, these outbreaks are not new, they remained local during the 20th century, but with the advent of the 21st century, the outbreaks spread globally.
So what happened in the 21st century? Well, there can be several possible reasons, but to name the top three reasons, globalization, intense human mobility (via airplane, road, rail), and urbanization are majorly responsible for their widespread. Yes, many of us reaped the benefits of the above three, but were we aware of their role in these disease outbreak?
Sadly yes, the outbreaks have become a fact of life, and the world remains vulnerable to these infectious diseases. In addition to the world’s miseries, there has been no universal vaccine developed to treat them. Even scientists and doctors have been unable to find a guaranteed way to manage them.
Another interesting fact, the pathogens which are responsible for these outbreaks are of animal origin (referred to as zoonotic diseases). So next time when you try to cuddle animals during your forest treks or in streets, think again.
Also, the impacts of these diseases do not remain limited to the affected patients. Being a global disease, it impacts the social, political, and economic relationships within the nation and with the other countries as well. It seems impossible to eradicate them but is preventable from getting out of control and limit the impact of those viruses that spread internationally. The concept of global health security needs to be at the forefront to deal with them.
The global health security depends crucially on much greater awareness, cooperation, and collaboration between individual countries, agencies, organizations, and communities. More enhanced international information and virus sharing among laboratories need to be actively encouraged and pursued than buying or selling military weapons. Read about the Global Health Security Index.
Good public health surveillance systems and mechanisms for early detection need to set up on a priority basis. This will help in anticipating the virus at it’s origin and dealt at initial stages. If possible, kindly spare some time to find out about such a health surveillance system at your place. You can also confirm it with your mayor, MLA, MP, CM, State Health Minister through the various channel they provide for contact.
For stronger health systems and conducive health care settings, there has to be a culture of training and encouraging health workers. I refer them as health care soldiers as they not only risk their lives (by being more close to the diseased and sick person) but also save numerous lives through their daily work. Their contribution is at par to deserve medals and a good salary(and not be dependent on incentives for better performances).
In the era of fake news, risk communication remains a key pillar of response to outbreaks. It helps to make informed decisions to mitigate the effects of a disease outbreak and take protective and preventive action. So next time, when you read about such viruses causing deaths, try to have precise information regarding it, by taking the help of the WHO website or consulting with a specialist doctor.
Despite all the preventive measures, I don’t think these deadly diseases will ever be completely eradicated or disappear. They will reappear in the form of a new deadly virus. Sadly there will be a new form of disease outbreak next year. Hence the concept of global health security and universal health coverage hold the utmost importance to deal with them. Remember, No-one is safe until everyone is safe.