Access to Health Care
Health care is a right that many of us take for granted. But when we compare provision to need we see there is still so much to do. Should health and survival depend on where we’re born? Is the way that it is, the way that it should be?
...If born into a developing nation, newborns are 8 times more likely to die at birth.
...Every day 22,000 of our world’s children die - mainly from preventable causes.
More than malaria, measles and AIDS combined; the greatest child killer illness is Pneumonia. Every year around 2 million children under-5 die from the disease. That’s 1 in 5 total child deaths.
Despite its deadly effects, only 56% of our world’s children with suspected pneumonia received life-saving antibiotics or care. This drops further to 32% in Kazakhstan, 25% in Nepal and only 3% in Haiti.
After Pneumonia, the second greatest killer of our world’s children is also preventable. Diarrhoeal diseases result in nearly 1.5 million deaths of children under-5 every year.
Only one-third of kids living with these diseases in the developing world receive satisfactory care. As with most illnesses, its effects on livelihoods and futures is made even worse by poverty, homelessness, hunger and thirst.
More than 20,000 children in Bangladesh under 5 die from measles every year.
Two doses of measles vaccine effectively protect children against the disease
90% of child deaths in Ethiopia are preventable
There are also the social conditions that are contributing to the global health burden. Out of forced marriage, pregnancy at an early age puts mothers and babies at a much higher risk of death. Pregnancy related deaths are the leading cause of deaths worldwide for girls aged 15 – 19.
Even in richer countries, where you’d think health care wouldn’t be a problem, the homeless are discriminated against with social barriers and insurance costs preventing care. Drug dependence is a major cause of illness among homeless people, a group of us who also have huge mental health issues.
Worldwide, around 450 million of us suffer from some kind of behavioral or mental disorder…
…That’s one in four of our families having at least one member with a mental disorder… double the entire population of Brazil.
In Europe this increases further, where one in four people are affected by a mental health problem at some time in their life.
Globally, this translates to 1 million suicides every year - mental illness the leading cause
Mental ill health can range from anxiety disorders and epilepsy through to schizophrenia. Its effects on the livelihoods of people vary disorder to disorder and culture to culture. On top of the illness its self, social intolerance of mental disorders commonly affect people’s quality of life, including whether they search for and receive care. This often translates into denial of education, housing and employment. Some countries even forbid people with mental disorders from marrying, voting or having children. In other communities, people can be banished to the outskirts of town, left naked, beaten and going hungry.
Frighteningly, some studies found the highest levels of stigmas in urban, more educated areas and very few countries have adequate laws to protect the rights of people with mental disorders.
Those of us living in poverty are also more at risk. Of the 25 million people living with schizophrenia worldwide, 50% are not receiving suitable health care and 90% of these are in developing countries.
Young people are also not receiving appropriate mental health care despite around 20% of our world’s young people estimated as having some sort of mental disorder or problem. The regions of our world with the highest under-19 populations have lowest levels of mental health resources. WHO estimates that most low and middle income countries have only one child psychiatrist for every 1 to 4 million people.
A major factor in access to mental health care is the unequal distribution of skilled human resources. High income countries for example have 200 times the number of psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses. WHO estimate the cost involved in providing global care is US$2 per person per year in low-income countries and US$3-$4 in lower-middle income countries. But first, addressing mental health must become a global priority.
Surely, someone somewhere can have an idea about how to help those of us with mental illness...
Someone somewhere can think of, and then do something to help, then inspiring others into action…
So where are those groups and organisations looking after the health of our minds?
Where are the people thinking and doing something to care for our world’s health?
If you, or someone you know is suffering from any kind of mental illness and help is needed, please contact a local health professional immediately.