World Health Day 2014

World Health Day 2014

WHD 520

The link between local community health and global health is often overlooked. When poor health systems are discussed it is often in the context of “us vs. them” a developed to developing relationship that has very few parallels.  In many ways this is true: the diseases that plague the developing world are not as prevalent in the Global North, including HIV, diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria… However understanding the interconnectedness of these two healthcare systems and the their treatment is vital for global eradication.  Today on World Health Day the international community looks towards vector borne diseases such as Malaria and Dengue Fever.  There has been a resurgence of 335 infectious diseases between 1940 and 2005, mostly caused by increased urbanization and development.1 This year the World Health Organization is focusing their attention on control and eradication of those diseases which are not exclusively limited to the developing world.

The WHO focuses on “Integrated Vector Management” which correlates between the environment and healthcare to reduce the spread of vector borne diseases. Factors such as inadequately designed water systems, poor irrigation and housing design, and loss of biodiversity due to development, all help to spread vector borne diseases.  Environmental management, such as redesigning water systems and biological controls including the use of larvivorous fish to kill larvae without the need for harmful chemicals, is a strategy that is proving to be effective. Another tool that can be implemented is called geographical profiling, it is a statistical tool used traditionally to locate suspects involved in crime.  However, it can be used in global health to map the spread of infectious diseases and locate the main sources of infection, such as a contaminated water source.  Non-traditional measures such as geographical profiling could be useful methods for integrated control strategies by providing information for targeted reduction in the spread of disease.

Multi sector work between the global south and global north will be needed to augment real change, and sustainable reduction in the spread of vector borne diseases. Together both environmental, biological, and new innovative strategies can reduce the spread of deadly vector borne illnesses.

[1] Le Comber, S. C., Rossmo, D. K., Hassan, A. N., Fuller, D. O., & Beier, J. C. (2011). Geographic profiling as a novel spatial tool for targeting infectious disease control. International Journal of Health Geographics, 10(1), 35-35. doi:10.1186/1476-072X-10-35


Privacy Preference Center