"The geography of health investigates topics such as
the pattern and spread of disease."
This takes into account multiple variables and situations on a global scale to find patterns, which would allow for comparison of data between different countries. This could show a countries situation, in terms of both human and physical geography.
This graph shows, through territory size, the proportion of peole aged 15-49 years who have HIV. This graph clearly shows the difference that MEDCs have in terms of people suffer in with HIV in comparison with LEDCs. http://www.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=277
LEDCs on a whole have a far higher percentage of adults infected with HIV. By far the worst affected area is Africa, with all top ten affected territories in Africa, reaching a high in Swaziland. However, the smaller island nations have negligible numbers of HIV sufferers.
A map to show the relationship between the total GDP of a country with the percentage of adults infected with HIV. http://graphs.gapminder.org/world/#$majorMode=map$is;shi=t;ly=2003;lb=f;il=t;fs=11;al=30;stl=f;st=f;nsl=t;se=t$wst;tts=C$ts;sp=6;ti=2005$zpv;v=0$inc_x;mmid=XCOORDS;i
The map above showed an obvious relationship between the wealth of a country and the prevalence of HIV. The country's wealth will inevitably have an effect on it's medical development and thus it's ability to help prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV .
The Maldives, which in 2005 only generated 0.8 billion, has one of the lowest rates of HIV sufferers in the world. So there must be other factors.
This factor is obviously very important when looking at the geography of health as it gives a rough indication as to the ease of disease transmission.
The previous map also showed that there are certain regions of the world where there is obviously a higher risk of being infected with a disease. It would seem that in Southern Africa there is the highest chance of catching the HIV virus and seeing as these places do not generate the lowest total income then it can't just be availablity of wealth that affects this.
These patterns that we see can then be used as a general model, which help to shed light on where a disease is likely to be spread the quickest and so where best in the world to prepare against any possible risks of epidemics that could potentially affect the whole world if they become pandemics.
Morbidity By Tom Pybus, Anthony Li and Alex Jenkins
There are constant, but low levels of the virus in some tropical areas of Africa and the Americas; therefore, there is always a risk of it spreading quickly.
Yellow Fever outbreaks have also occurred in Europe, the Caribbean Islands and Central and North America.
Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are said to be at greatest risk.
The number of people infected over the last 20 years has actually increased, even though there has been an effective vaccine available in the last 60 years, making yellow fever a serious public health issue again.
What is an Epidemic? "An epidemic occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected. " - www.Wikipedia.org "A disease affecting a large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time." - www.BCM.edu
Defining an epidemic can be subjective, depending in part on what is "expected", a few cases of a very rare disease may be classified as an "epidemic," while many cases of a common disease (such as the common cold) would not. Three common classifications;
Endemic: Common diseases that occur at a constant but relatively low rate such as malaria in Africa.
Syndemics: Epidemics that are more like social conditions, they increase the health burden of the population such as poverty.
Non-Infectious Diseases: The term is sometimes used in reference to a problem with society such as obesity.
Chineses Government didn't inform the World Health Organisation until Feburary 2003, 3 months after the first case after 305 cases and 5 deaths. This led to criticism of the Chinese Government and delayed efforts to control the outbreak.
12 March 2003 Global Alert issued by the WHO and an official Health Warning from the USA's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tourism warnings were also placed on China and Honk Kong by the WHO
Many buildings with great numbers of infected people inside were quarantined such as an apartment in Hong Kong on 30 March due to 200+ cases in that building alone.
In 19 May 2004, the WHO announces China free of SARS due to no new infections in 3 weeks.
Definition A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance a continent, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic. Throughout history there have been a number of pandemics, such as smallpox and tuberculosis. More recent pandemics include the HIV pandemic and the 2009 flu pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a pandemic can start when three conditions have been met: emergence of a disease new to a population; agents infect humans, causing serious illness; and agents spread easily and sustainably among humans.
The most common Pandemics we have suffered have been Influenza related. The most severe being the “Spanish Flu” influenza pandemic in 1918-1919 and caused an estimated 40 to 50 million deaths world wide. Current epidemiological models project that a pandemic could result in up to 7.4 million deaths globally.
With the increase in global transport, as well as urbanization and overcrowded conditions in some areas, epidemics due to a new influenza virus are likely to take hold around the world, and become a pandemic faster than before.
Healthcare and sanitation has dramatically improved especially in MEDC’s resulting in the ideology of more infections but fewer deaths
Continuous global surveillance of influenza is key to the early detection of a virus with pandemic potential. WHO has a network of more than 120 National Influenza Centres in over 90 countries that monitor influenza activity and isolate influenza viruses in every region of the world.
During a Pandemic Using the current swine flu as an example it is possible to map outbreaks of the disease in question
In general, there is a positive relationship between the wealth of a country and the quality of healthcare provided because it is a vital resource for many people, yet costly and therefore access is restricted.
With greater wealth often brings greater access, however in some countries there are exceptions, which will be discussed later.
From the following maps and graphs , it can be seen that the greater the wealth of a country, the greater the amount of money is spent on healthcare.
A graph to show Government expenditure on health as a percentage of total expenditure - This shows the contrast between all countries, and backs up the trend. Many of the MEDC countries spend a greater percentage than those that are LEDC.
Around the world, there are of course some exceptions In particular I will be briefly looking at the USA , because of the unique situation that the country is in. A Map to Show the Public Health Spending Proportionally In Relation to the Country Location
A Map to Show the Private Health Spending Proportionally In Relation to the Country Location
These pictures are from a drop-in clinic where people who are uninsured and also poorly insured can queue to see medical staff who volunteer their services without pay.
There is a limit of 1,500 patients per day and the clinic can help as many as 10,000 people before it moves on after eight days.
Example: Beverly Alessandra, 61.She had a heart attack two years ago and, with no health insurance, cannot afford the medication that stops her veins clogging.The former secretary, who had to queue for five hours to see a cardiologist, said: "I worked hard all my life but was laid off after 20 years. I need medication but can't afford the $150 a month." The clinic gave Beverly a supply of the life-saving drugs. Source: The Mirror
Although in the USA, there is the world's highest total spending per person per year on healthcare ($6103 in 2007), many people do not have access to healthcare - 45m people are uninsured (18% of Americans under 65).
This issue has become very important recently because it is one of the issues that Barack Obama has vowed to resolve.
The video above has been produced by an a group who are against a National healthcare insurance plan for the USA.
National health service is socialised because it is a communist nation and heathcare is widely available. Despite spending ten times less per person on healthcare, Cuba is only one place behind the USA in WHO rankings.
Access to doctors per 100,000 people
Cuba - 627
USA - 225
There are 21 medical schools providing free training and even state-sponsored classes to improve health. Cuba has the second highest life expectancy in the carribean - 77.
But now, it is now badly short of medicines, instruments and equipment, while many hospitals existing in a state of disrepair. Doctors can earn more as taxi drivers, and a USA blockade stops the sale of many modern medicines.