The picture of current global health is marked by large regional disparities. Patterns of death and illness in the Third World today are similar to those found in the First World during the 19th century. Third World ill-health is principally related to malnutrition, poverty, and lack of access to basic needs; while for the First World, the critical issue is that of the health problems of an ageing population. Given projected trends for the next half-century, this contrast is unlikely to change significantly. Diseases of poverty will continue to be the hallmark of the Third World as geriatric care and the management of chronic diseases will persevere as the largest challenge in the developed countries. However, as socioeconomic conditions improve in the developing world, the importance of chronic diseases will also increase.
The budget of a hospital in Bruges, Belgium is the same as the health budget for the whole of the Democratic Republic of Congo.