As the world becomes richer, many remain hungry. The chart below displays the results of a Gallup survey asking respondents whether there were instances in the past 12 months when they did not have enough money to buy food. Even in high-income countries, around 10 percent, or 100 million people, deal with food insecurity. One of the internationally agreed upon Sustainable Development Goals aims to completely get rid of hunger by 2030. According to Homi Kharas and John McArthur, we are off track to meet this goal and, in order to see better progress, countries must have a higher sense of accountability to stick to their health and nutrition policies.
The opioid epidemic has major health implications such as increased hospitalizations, substance addiction, and an increase in babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. The number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome has quadrupled over the past 15 years. In her report, “Unburying the lead: Public health tools are the key to beating the opioid epidemic,” Dayna Bowen Matthew looks into how American policymakers can make systematic changes to fight the opioid epidemic. She encourages policymakers to look at social factors such as housing, employment, criminal justice interventions, and community engagement when looking to solve the crisis.
In the United States, life-threatening diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s receive a lot of attention, but tuberculosis, a bacterial disease that affects the lungs, kills the same amount of people globally and does not receive the same level of response. Potential treatments being developed for Alzheimer’s and dementia outnumber treatments for tuberculosis by more than three to one. Tuberculosis usually afflicts people of young ages, while dementia symptoms typically appear later in a person’s life. Dementia is the third leading cause of death in high-income countries, while tuberculosis is the fifth cause of death in low-income countries.
As seen in the pie chart below, the United States contributes to almost one-third of Development Assistance for Health (DAH) spending. However, this only amounts to 0.22 percent of the entire federal budget, and if President Trump’s budget request is fulfilled, it will decrease considerably. He has called for a 24 percent reduction in spending on foreign assistance for global health. Jake Schneider and Darrell West examine how cuts in U.S. global health assistance would be devastating for global health. They predict that if a 24 percent decrease comes to fruition, the global development assistance for health would drop from $39.2 to $28.8 billion, and the U.S. contribution would drop from $13.6 billion to $10 billion. These cuts would have grave consequences for the developing world and international stability as a whole.
The modern world shouldn’t have problems this drastic.