How to celebrate World Health Day during a World Health Crisis


On April 7th we celebrate World Health Day. But how to properly celebrate a day like this during a global pandemic? At the moment countries all around the globe are battling a global health crisis. Even though it feels like there is no end in sight. We want to use this article to take a break from the all-dominating topic of the Coronavirus. To celebrate World Health Day, we will focus on good news from the health sector. Therefore we have compiled a list of health facts that show how things have improved over the past decades to cheer you guys up!

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is, next to lung cancer, one of the most frequently diagnosed forms of cancer worldwide. It is estimated that each year 2.1 million women are diagnosed with some sort of the disease. Still it is only the fifth deadliest cancer due to screening and early detection measures. In Austria the number of survivors rises each year, in the last decades the mortality rate has even dropped by a third. To prevent breast cancer try not smoking, drink less alcohol and stick to a balanced diet. Also visiting your OBGYN regularly and self-examination have been proven to increase your chances of survival by detecting it as early as possible!

Diabetes

Diabetes Type I or Diabetes mellitus is an autoimmune disease which affects the pancreas. Due to the metabolic disorder the pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin; therefore, sufferers must measure their blood sugar level several times a day and have to take insulin shots. And even though the disease is incurable, the living quality of those affected has improved massively due to the technology of insulin pumps. An insulin pump is a small device that measures the basal blood sugar level and helps regulate the insulin levels. People no longer have to inject themselves with insulin several times a day and don’t have to measure as frequently. The stabilisation of blood sugar levels helps to better manage diabetes and reduces the risk of negative long-term effects that unstable blood sugar has on the body. It also gives Diabetics more freedom in life for example the freedom of sleeping in long. Most pumps have a sensor that warns whenever the blood sugar level is too high or too low and therefore simplifies the lives of millions of people affected worldwide.

HIV

In the 80ies contracting HIV was almost like a death sentence. People, who were infected, would eventually develop AIDS and had a very short life expectancy.  Even though there has not yet been a cure for HIV, there has been a functional cure. Thanks to ARVs (Antiretroviral therapy) HIV became a very manageable illness. At the moment 62% of HIV positive people worldwide receive ARVs and therefore 53% of HIV positive people are unable to transmit the virus. It is estimated that between 2000 and 2018 the infection rate dropped by 37% and the death rate decreased by 45%, which estimates to about 13.6 million lives saved on a global scale. This is also thanks to the development of PrEP, a drug that prevents HIV negative people from contracting the Virus. Certainly the rate of HIV positive people is still too high, however, there are simple measures that can prevent catching the virus, like safe sex.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis and affects mostly the lungs. Due to the fact that is a bacterial infection, it can be treated with antibiotics. By raising awareness and facilitating more people with treatment the mortality rate dropped significantly during the past two decades. The WHO estimates that 58 millions lives have been saved thanks to better treatment.

So even though we don’t hear a lot of good news about our global health right now, there have been some positive developments over the last decades. Of course, things could always be better, so here are some tips and tricks to ensure that you are living your best and longest life:

Don’t smoke. Just don’t!
Eat healthily, but don’t starve yourself!
Sleep enough!
Drink enough water!
Practice safe sex!
and most importantly:
WASH YOUR HANDS! EVERY DAY! SEVERAL TIMES A DAY! WITH SOAP!

The TEDxVienna blog team wishes you a happy Global Health Day and we hope you all stay happy, healthy and safe!

picture credits: Tim Goedhart via unsplash.com

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About Julia Unteregger

Julia is a writer and a mental health professional. In her free time she likes to hike, even though she fears heights. She also drinks a lot of coffee and plays an excessive amount of solitaire.

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