Many of us are lucky to have some of the amenities that we do, especially with regards to health care. The University of Connecticut gives out free flu vaccines, and there are multiple health centers and pharmacies around us. These amenities, however, are not the same in many places around the world.
In Pakistan, there was a recent outbreak of HIV, where over 1,100 people — over 900 of them children — were infected. Government officials have determined that this is due to a pediatrician who was reusing syringes and IV needles, instead of throwing them out with every use.
Clearly, the pediatrician should not have reused the needles and syringes. However, it has come to light that this occurs in many places in Pakistan due to the poor health care system in place, and the fact that clean needles and syringes are not always readily available.
Health care should not be an amenity, as it is now. Proper health care should be a universal human right, not something that only certain people have access to, depending on their socioeconomic status and the region where they live.
In a plethora of countries around the world — including Pakistan — there is a poor health care system in place. This is, as many have suggested, the only positive outcome from the HIV outbreak in Pakistan: the fact that hopefully now, the system can improve.
Currently, the United Nation’s World Health Organization is working to improve health care around the world by setting certain goals, including to improve equity in health by increasing access to medical information and health care centers. Although this is a great start, the system must improve immensely.
People all around the world deserve proper health care, regardless of their societal status, income or any other factors. Health care is a human right and should be equal all around the world.
There are many examples of health inequities all around the world, besides the HIV outbreak in Pakistan. Whether there are inaccessible vaccines, a high rate of maternal mortality, poor reproductive health care or something entirely different, health care systems around the world must improve.
Many countries do not have proper access to vaccines; therefore, the people in these countries suffer because they cannot be properly immunized, and they are at risk for contracting preventable diseases. Especially in developing countries, such as in South and Central Asia as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa, many people are not vaccinated against diseases such as polio, which most children in the U.S. are vaccinated against by the age of 5.
However, the U.S. is not perfect either. The U.S. has alarmingly high rates of maternal mortality, especially given the fact that it is a developed country. Women in the U.S. have double the chance of dying during childbirth compared to women in Canada.
As for poor reproductive health care, there are many countries around the world in which abortions are illegal. Therefore, oftentimes those who receive abortions in countries where it is illegal must partake in very unsafe methods. The World Health Organization estimated that 97% of all unsafe abortions occur in developing countries.
Evidently, health inequities are prevalent all over the world. With the HIV outbreak in Pakistan, hopefully more and more health and government officials will realize the importance of proper health care, and it will be more accessible to everyone. Health care should be a human right, and proper health care systems should be available in every country, not just a select few.
In the future, hopefully the World Health Organization will fulfill all of its goals, and everyone around the world will have access to proper health care, regardless of where they live or the money that they make.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual writers in the opinion section do not reflect the views and opinions of The Daily Campus or other staff members. Only articles labeled “Editorial” are the official opinions of The Daily Campus.
Anika Veeraraghav is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.