The year is 1900 and the country is the United States. A man walks into his doctor’s office complaining of a persistent cough with fever, chills, night sweats, and weight loss. After an examination, the doctor informs the man that he has tuberculosis. Unfortunately, effective antibiotics to treat his illness will not be discovered for decades5. Tuberculosis will be the top cause of death in the U.S. that year1. Pneumonia will be #2, Diarrhea and enteritis #3, Bronchitis #9, and Diphtheria #10.
The year is 2016 and a man walks into his doctor’s office in a low-income country with these same complaints. The doctor, again, informs the man that he has tuberculosis. Effective antibiotics to treat him were discovered over a half-century ago. Unfortunately, they are not available to him where he lives. Tuberculosis will be the seventh leading cause of death in the poorest 25% of countries in the world that year2. The top 10 causes of death in these countries in 2016 will also include Lower Respiratory Infections, Diarrhoeal Diseases, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Preterm Birth Complications, as well as Birth Asphyxia and Birth Trauma.
Today is the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty3. The U.N. reminds us that the deprivations of poverty are interrelated, mutually reinforcing, and include limited access to health care4. The blessing of advances in multiple aspects of health care over the last century have transformed the landscape of why and when we die, but not for all. Mission Doctors Association continues to work to relieve a portion of this burden of poverty by providing medical care and teaching in places where there may be no other available options.
What is the date?? From a medical standpoint, it sometimes depends on where you live.
- CDC NCHS
Health United States, 1987
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- World Health Organization
Top 10 causes of death in low-income countries in 2016
- United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2019
- United Nations
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Tuberculosis Day 2018