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The Response to Disease

Posted on October 6, 2014 in General Ministry, Management, MMI, Patient Stories, Programs, Volunteering | 0 comments

There are media reports galore about the few people that have contracted Ebola, which as of this writing, have all contracted the illness outside of the United States.  It’s a very small component of a much bigger issue, which is how are we supposed to respond to worldwide disease?  As bad as Ebola is, it pales in comparison to many other diseases in relation to its impact on the world.  The first case of Ebola was discovered in 1976 in what was then a region of Zaire, in Africa.  The total documented cases of this disease prior to the recent outbreak was just north of 1700.  This recent outbreak continues to evolve, but we are now well north of 7000 cases and more than 3300 deaths.  Terrible, yes, but not nearly as big a deal as other more known killers in the world of disease.

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Of 57 million total deaths worldwide, heart disease accounts for more than 12%. See the table below for the rest of the top ten deadly diseases.

Disease Annual
mortality
rate
Percent
of all
deaths
1. Ischaemic heart disease 7.25 million 12.8%
2. Cerebrovascular disease 6.15 million 10.8
3. Lower respiratory infections 3.46 million 6.1
4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 3.28 million 5.8
5. Diarrhoeal diseases 2.46 million 4.3
6. HIV/AIDS 1.78 million 3.1
7. Trachea, bronchus, lung cancers 1.39 million 2.4
8. Tuberculosis 1.34 million 2.4
9. Diabetes mellitus 1.26 million 2.2
10. Hypertensive heart disease 1.15 million 2.0

 

Source:World Health Organization

Disease is a problem for the world, not just those that have the problem right now.  If the Ebola crisis has done anything, it has raised the awareness of people in the Western World to the issue of disease.  Millions have died from Malaria, Cholera, Polio, AIDS, etc.  Heart Disease is the number one killer in the world.  Disease, regardless of where it occurs, is a world problem that will eventually affect the health concerns of us all.  Should the world take appropriate measures to keep the disease from moving around the world?  Yes.  That is a response to the symptom of disease, but what can not be lost in this is how do we address the disease at the point of discovery?  We must invest in the people on the ground trying to deal with disease and develop facilities, infrastructure, and skills that can be ready to address these issues and keep them from creating havoc.

Medical Ministry International is on the front lines trying to build this capacity around the world.  It’s life saving work that needs the support of all of us in order to help aleviate the issues of disease world wide.  You can help make this happen whether you volunteer with our teams or facilities, or support them financially.  Either way, you are helping to address the issues of disease.

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