The infectious disease of the month is Zika. A few months ago it was Ebola. Before that MERS. In between we have seen some reports of a small number of Avian flu cases along with sprinklings of other emerging health problems.
There is a simple statement that describes what happens when an infectious disease hits a poor nation or nations.
When a new infectious disease outbreak occurs in a poor nation, (tens of ) thousands can become infected and potentially die before we, in richer nations, hear about the disease cluster or alarm is expressed by our government officials. As soon as a few cases occur in the USA or EU or other richer nations, a few thousand stories are immediately broadcast on the global, television satellite network and the richer nations proclaim the seriousness of the problem. The CDC of the USA is a good example of this very reactive strategy.
If we know anything about outbreaks of infectious disease, it is with rapid worldwide transportation systems and pervasive international trade, the disease vectors and active disease cases will arrive in the richer nations and cannot be confined to poor nations (not that this should EVER a poor nations only problem). And we also know that the poor nations do not have the health system infrastructure to prevent the emerging disease within their own countries nor to treat their citizens with state-of-the-art techniques and medications nor to confine the disease within their borders.
Perhaps thousands of television stories can be broadcast about the need for a real and responsible whole world health system instead of the fairly unresponsive and overwhelmed system represented by the World Health Organization.
Or maybe television outlets do want to run stories like the terrors of the “Disease of the Month” because they might lose advertiser revenue from broadcasting the scary stories of rampant infectious disease of the week (month). Or maybe governments are worried about not being able to hold the poorer nations in their “proper place” if they receive the benefits of an effective world wide health system.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? The following mind map shows some of the issues. Please click the image to expand it.