Thursday, August 23, 2007

UN Document on Healthcare Released

This article from the W.H.O. below helps illustrate why, in my opinion, we are losing the debate regarding national healthcare in the United States. Most pundits and healthcare advocates in the media are not warning Americans about the historically obvious, now confirmed by the World Health Organization, as being an imminent global threat. The focus needs to be shifted to being directed and centered more on what can and will happen specifically, to United States citizens in general (not just the poor and uninsured), when significant statistical portions of our population are not adequately taken care of. This same debate applies across the board to homelessness, poverty and healthcare; allowing citizens to remain homeless and inadequately norished invites wide-spread infectious disease, as does also not providing adequate universal healthcare.

By shifting the focus of the debate, it would help to convince portions of our population who otherwise, are not altruistically motivated and rather, subscribe to the self-centered "pick up by own bootstraps" theory. Which unfortunately, is a widespread regressive attitude found in capitalistic societies in general and among significant portions of the current American population in particular.

Americans typically relate to plague in terms of it happening in so-called "third-world" countries and can't happen to us. That very bad error in thinking needs to be corrected by those with a media presence. The United States, by not providing healthcare for significant portions of our population, is openly inviting a new form of infectious disease to creep in and decimate our own population. Most infectious diseases represent slow, painful death rather than immediate, which nobody on any side of the political equation wants to risk, if correctly informed of the consequences of not providing adequate food, shelter and universal healthcare. We may as well shoot our own children in the head as to not adequately house, feed and care for all of our population.

----------------------copy from
GENEVA, Switzerland (Reuters) -- Infectious diseases are emerging more quickly around the globe, spreading faster and becoming increasingly difficult to treat, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

In its annual World Health Report, the United Nations agency warned there was a good possibility that another major scourge like AIDS, SARS or Ebola fever with the potential of killing millions would appear in the coming years.

"Infectious diseases are now spreading geographically much faster than at any time in history," the WHO said.

It said it was vital to keep watch for new threats like the emergence in 2003 of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which spread from China to 30 countries and killed 800 people.

"It would be extremely naive and complacent to assume that there will not be another disease like AIDS, another Ebola, or another SARS, sooner or later," the report warned.

Since the 1970s, the WHO said, new threats have been identified at an "unprecedented rate" of one or more every year, meaning that nearly 40 diseases exist today which were unknown just over a generation ago.

During the past five years alone, WHO experts had verified more than 1,100 epidemics of different diseases.

With more than 2 billion people traveling by air every year, the U.N. agency said: "an outbreak or epidemic in one part of the world is only a few hours away from becoming an imminent threat somewhere else."

Monitoring vital, report says

The report called for renewed efforts to monitor, prevent and control epidemic-prone ailments such as cholera, yellow fever and meningococcal diseases.

International assistance may be required to help health workers in poorer countries identify and contain outbreaks of emerging viral diseases such as Ebola and Marburg haemorrhagic fever, the WHO said.

It warned that global efforts to control infectious diseases have already been "seriously jeopardized" by widespread drug resistance, a consequence of poor medical treatment and misuse of antibiotics.

This is a particular problem in tuberculosis, where extensively drug-resistant (XDR-TB) strains of the contagious respiratory ailment have emerged worldwide.

"Drug resistance is also evident in diarrhoeal diseases, hospital-acquired infections, malaria, meningitis, respiratory tract infections, and sexually transmitted infections, and is emerging in HIV," the report declared.

Although the H5N1 bird flu virus has not mutated into a form that passes easily between humans, as many scientists had feared, the next influenza pandemic was "likely to be of an avian variety" and could affect some 1.5 billion people.

"The question of a pandemic of influenza from this virus or another avian influenza virus is still a matter of when, not if," the WHO said.

It said all countries must share essential health data, such as virus samples and reports of outbreaks, as required under international health rules, to mitigate such risks.

Accidents involving toxic chemicals, nuclear power and other environmental disasters should also be communicated quickly and clearly to minimize public health threats. E-mail to a friend

Richard Aberdeen 615-889-1669


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