Thanks to increasing global digitalisation and simultaneously decreasing costs, technology is now more accessible to a wider range of people than ever before – including those in the southern hemisphere. Modern information and communications technology (ICT) offers a major opportunity to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages (SDG 3).
The question as to whether and to what extent the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be achieved depends on various factors: the extent of available funds, behavioural changes, implementation capacities, political will and much more. However, the most critical factor in the long term is often ignored in the public discussion: population dynamics.
According to WHO forecasts, more people in developing countries will die from diabetes or heart attacks than from infectious diseases by 2030. The global increase in chronic or non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represents an enormous strain on and challenge for many countries whose healthcare systems are primarily focused on controlling infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Particularly in low-income regions, the costs of NCDs are becoming a major financial challenge for the people affected and for the national economies.
This issue of Development in Brief deals with non-communicable diseases and their growing significance in developing countries. The article points out the health and economic consequences of these diseases and what measures need to be taken to effectively minimise their impact on people and the system and to prevent them in the first place.
One of the most serious Ebola epidemics is currently raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In mid-June, the first Ebola victim was also reported in neighbouring Uganda. The WHO had been warning for months against the spread of the epidemic to other parts of the Congo or neighbouring countries. Almost daily, a dangerous infectious disease breaks out somewhere in the world, which, if discovered too late or not detected at all, can spread rapidly across national borders and become a pandemic. In this world of growing mobility, health risks do not only cause human suffering but also high economic costs.
The current issue of Development in Brief focuses on pandemic prevention as a highly relevant issue and discusses approaches that can prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Ebola and thus reduce the economic costs of pandemics for affected countries and the international community.
The worldwide advance of what is known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which is undermining the effectiveness of conventional medicines such as antibiotics and therapies against malaria, tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS, is posing a challenge for healthcare systems in many countries. Particularly in low-income regions, it is becoming a health problem of the first order.
This current edition of Development in Brief summarises the global challenges and dangers as well as the health and economic consequences of antimicrobial resistance, and also lists the national and international measures and precautions that need to be taken to effectively prevent it from spreading.
In the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, health is the third of a total of 17 goals. This SDG focuses on equal access to quality, essential health care services and medicines, as well as financial risk protection (Universal Health Coverage – UHC). Globally, approximately one billion people do not have access or equal access to appropriate and affordable health care. Due to high individual illness costs, up to 100 million people fall below the poverty line each year. The health systems are often weak: they lack adequate infrastructure, specialists, medicines, sustainable financing and efficient management. Global developments like climate and demographic change, urbanisation, and migration present great challenges, especially for these weak health care systems. Crises and conflicts aggravate the situation. Tropical diseases that have not been dealt with continue to be a risk in many partner countries. Many non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer are also clearly on the rise. With the focus on health during the German presidencies of the G7 and G20, the core concerns of German development cooperation in the health sector were also clearly structured. Fighting infectious diseases, improving maternal and child health and strengthening health care systems serve as the foundation for Germany's involvement.
World AIDS Day will be held for the 30th time on 1 December – the perfect time to take stock. At this point in time, there are around 37 million people around the world who have the HI Virus. Although the virus was not identified until 1983, over 35 million people have now died from HIV or AIDS, making the illness one of the most devastating pandemics of the last few decades. Nevertheless, huge progress has been made in the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS in recent years.
This edition of Development in Brief describes the current status of HIV/AIDS prevention, the challenges that have yet to be defeated, and the opportunities presented by the intelligent combination of a number of effective approaches to prevention.
The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has a total of 17 goals, the third of which is health. This SDG focuses on equal access to health care services and medicines, as well as financial risk protection (Universal Health Coverage – UHC). Globally, approximately one billion people do not have access or equal access to appropriate and affordable health care. Due to high individual direct payments, up to 100 million people fall beneath the poverty line each year. The health systems are often weak: they lack adequate infrastructure, specialists, medicines, sustainable financing and efficient management. Global developments like climate and demographic change, urbanisation, and migration present great challenges, especially for these weak health care systems. Crises and conflicts aggravate the situation. In many partner countries, tropical diseases that have not been dealt with continue to be a risk, primarily for the poorest parts of the population, while non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer are on the rise. The effect of the Ebola epidemic was that health became the focus of the German G7 and G20 presidencies. The core concerns developed at that time include fighting infectious diseases, improving maternal and child health, and strengthening health care systems. This creates the basis for the German commitment to the global Gavi Vaccination Alliance, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development's special project, "Health in Africa", which focuses on training, equipment and education, and the extension of the "Rights-based Family Planning and Maternal Health" initiative.
Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, dementia or alcohol abuse are more widespread in poor than in industrialised countries, as sustained poverty or traumatic experiences are central triggers for them. The extent of mental diseases and the associated adverse effects on the people affected, but also on the economies of poorer countries as a whole, are often underestimated.
The current issue of Development in Brief describes the causes and the scope of the problem, addresses the specific challenges for developing countries in relation to the prevention and the treatment of mental diseases and identifies how development cooperation may contribute to improve the situation.
Health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being and is a key factor for successful economic development. Yet a third of people around the world still do not have access to adequate healthcare. KfW is involved in improving the health of people worldwide. Here you can have an overview of ongoing projects and the target groups of the development bank.
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International experts agree that vaccinations against widespread infectious diseases are some of the most cost-effective interventions we can stage. But the fact that blanket vaccination is still something of a pipe dream in many developing countries in spite of this shows that implementing this awareness in developmental practice is not as easy as one might initially think.
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