Here are 10 of the most urgent health challenges we’ll face in the 2020s, according to WHO

coronavirus china 2020_

People wear face masks at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. (UN News/Li Zhang)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Johnny Wood, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • The WHO released the top 10 global healthcare challenges in the coming decade.
  • Global warming, conflict zones and unfair healthcare provision are among the main obstacles.
  • Many healthcare challenges are interconnected and will require a coordinated international effort to overcome.
  • Experts are concerned governments around the world are failing to invest sufficient funds in overcoming these issues.

The world can’t afford to do nothing – that’s the World Health Organization’s message on the release of its report listing the most urgent health challenges for the coming decade.

All of the health challenges on the WHO list are urgent – and many are linked. And each challenge requires a coordinated effort from the global health sector, policymakers, international agencies and communities, the organization says. However, there is concern global leaders are failing to invest enough resources in core health priorities and systems.

 

The most urgent global health challenges for 2020, according to the World Health Organization.
Image: World Economic Forum

These are the main challenges on the list.

1. Elevating health in the climate debate

The climate crisis poses one of the biggest threats to both the planet and the health of the people who live on it.

Emissions kill around 7 million people each year, and are responsible for more than a quarter of deaths from diseases including heart attacks, stroke and lung cancer.

At the same time, more – and more intense – extreme weather events like drought and floods increase malnutrition rates and help spread infectious diseases like malaria.

2. Delivering health in conflict and crisis

The already difficult task of containing disease outbreaks is made more challenging in countries rife with conflict.

Nearly 1,000 attacks on healthcare workers and medical facilities in 11 countries were recorded in 2019, leaving 193 medical staff dead. Despite stricter surveillance, many healthcare workers remain vulnerable.

For the tens of millions of people forced to flee their homes, there is often little or no access to healthcare.

3. Making healthcare fairer

The gap between the haves and have-nots is growing, especially in terms of access to healthcare.

People in wealthy nations can expect to live 18 years longer than their poorer neighbours, and wealth can determine access to healthcare within countries and individual cities, as well.

Rising global rates of diseases like cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory conditions have a greater impact on low- and middle-income countries, where medical bills can quickly deplete the limited resources of poorer families.

4. Expanding access to medicines

Although many in the world take access to medication for granted, medicines and vaccines are not an option for almost one-third of the global population.

The challenge of expanding access to medicines in areas where few, if any, healthcare products are available includes combatting substandard and imitation medical products. In addition to putting lives at risk by failing to treat the patient’s condition, these products can undermine confidence in medicines and healthcare providers.

5. Stopping infectious diseases

Infectious diseases continue to kill millions of people, most of them poor. This picture looks unlikely to change in the near future.

Preventing the spread of diseases like HIV, tuberculosis and malaria depends on sufficient levels of funding and robust healthcare systems. But in some areas where they are most needed, these resources are in short supply.

Greater funding and political will is required to develop immunization programmes, share data on disease outbreaks and reduce the effects of drug resistance.

6. Preparing for epidemics

Airborne viruses or diseases transferred by mosquito bite can spread quickly, with potentially devastating consequences.

Currently, more time and resources are spent reacting to a new strain of influenza or an outbreak of yellow fever, rather than preparing for future outbreaks. But it’s not a question of if a dangerous virus will come about – but when.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How COVID-19 is throttling vital migration flows

UN rights chief Bachelet appeals for dialogue in Sudan amid reports ‘70 killed’ in demonstrations

Asian and Pacific economies: decreases in tax revenue highlight need to broaden tax bases

Coronavirus: harmonised standards for medical devices to respond to urgent needs

Turkey: Extension of EU humanitarian programmes supporting 1.7 million refugees receives green light

Health services for Syrian women caught up in war, foster safety and hope: UNFPA

ILO: Progress on gender equality at work remains inadequate

EU plans to exploit the Mediterranean Sea and the wealth beneath it

An entrepreneurial point-of view on tackling the migration crisis and the risks of abolishing Schengen

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

Three ways to improve your corporate culture in the #MeToo era

Social inclusion: how much should young people hope from the EU? 

Athens urged to fast track asylum seekers amid island shelters crisis – UNHCR

Vaccination: understanding the challenges surrounding COVID-19 vaccination campaigns

What India’s route to universal health coverage can teach the world

To what extent are our moral standards responsible for killing people?

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

How to describe chronic pain beyond numbers? A Brazilian measuring instrument

Security Council must ‘come together’ to address the plight of children trapped in armed conflict, says UN envoy

Mental health as a tool of survival at the Pandemic

European Youth calls on European Council for urgent action on “humanitarian crisis” and questions the EU/Turkey deal respect of human rights

Future EU financing and recovery: MEPs to assess summit outcome

When will Eurozone’s unemployment rate stop being Europe’s worst nightmare?

Mobile World Congress 2015 first to debate EU’s new stance on Net Neutrality and Roaming Charges

Afghanistan: UN mission welcomes new polling dates following election delays

Fairness should be at the heart of the agricultural goods trade

Vaccination: understanding the challenges surrounding COVID-19 vaccination campaigns

A Sting Exclusive: “The Digital Economy and Industry are no longer opposing terms”, Commissioner Oettinger underlines live from European Business Summit 2015

Tiny Iceland teaches the West how to treat bankers

Women’s rights and how medical students can act as aides of progressive change

The results of Finland’s basic income experiment are in. Is it working?

We can decide to live within the limits of our planet

Promoting Health in the Brazilian Amazon: one nation but many cultures

ECB money bonanza not enough to revive euro area, Germany longs to rule with stagnation

New EU rules ensure better protection for 120 million holidaymakers this summer

EU Migrant Crisis: Italian Coast Guard Headquarters and Italian Navy to give host national opening addresses at Border Security 2016 in Rome

UN chief pays tribute to Egypt’s role in avoiding ‘dramatic’ escalation in conflict across the Gaza-Israel border

ACP-EU : Agreement on climate change, migration and post-Cotonou

CO2 can be a valuable raw material, not just a climate killer. Here’s how

Scientists have created biodegradable microneedles to fight eye disease

Annual UN women activists’ summit opens with focus on services, infrastructure

How start-ups will lead India through the Fourth Industrial Revolution

EU Ombudsman investigates the European Commission

EU and UK soon to be in a post-Brexit rush over free trade agreement with Australia

Commission and EIB provide CureVac with a €75 million financing for vaccine development and expansion of manufacturing

Could entrepreneurship be the real cure against the side effects of Brexit?

Rebuilding after COVID: The challenge is digital

Medical students: catalysts to close the gender gap

How the world can ‘reset’ itself after COVID-19 – according to these experts

Threat to biodiversity risks a flood of economic ruin

One third of poorer countries face both undernutrition and obesity: WHO report

State aid: Commission approves €900 million Slovenian scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

Google case: A turning point in competition rules enforcement

Australia’s bushfires have pumped out half a year’s CO2 emissions

How Eurozone consumers spend their income when they have one…

25 years after population conference, women still face challenges to ‘well-being and human rights’, says UN chief

Cheese energy could power hundreds of UK homes

5G: How a ‘legion of robots’ could help save the rhino

The European Parliament fails to really restrict the rating agencies

Sponsored content: when QUALITY meets OPEX in manufacturing

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s