Unequal development in the promotion of health
Disparity in human healthiness
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.
Huge inequalities characterize the current picture of global health. In the developing world, health problems are related to malnutrition, poverty and lack of basic needs, while in the industrialized countries the health problems of the ageing populations present the greatest challenge. Impediments to the attainment of the desired level of mental and social well-being (as defined by the World Health Organization) are manifold. Health services in the developing countries have often been based on European or North American models, centering on highly technological, cost-intensive urban hospitals focused on curative rather than preventive health care. The absence of social justice and equity and, more particularly, the basic assumptions of superiority and inferiority of racial groups, indeed any form of racial discrimination in the field of health, all represent obstacles to progress because they undermine the most fundamental human right of all, the right to life.