Ten threats to global health in 2019


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the world is facing multiple health challenges, ranging from outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and diphtheria, increasing drug-resistant pathogens and growing rates of obesity and physical inactivity, to the health impacts of pollution, climate change and multiple humanitarian crises.  

To address these and other threats, 2019 sees the start of the WHO’s new 5-year strategic plan-the 13th General Programme of Work that aims to ensure that more than 1 billion people benefit from access to universal health coverage, are protected from health emergencies and enjoy better health and well-being.

The organisation has identified 10 issues that will require attention to achieve the targets:

  • Air pollution and climate change 
  • Non-communicable diseases 
  • Global influenza pandemic 
  • Fragile and vulnerable settings 
  • Antimicrobial resistance 
  • Ebola and other high-threat pathogens 
  • Weak primary health care 
  • Vaccine hesitancy 
  • Dengue 
  • HIV 

The WHO has set out a number of actions to address the issues this year including working with governments to meet the global target of reducing physical inactivity by 15% by 2030. It will also be ramping up work to eliminate cervical cancer by increasing human papillomavirus vaccine coverage. 

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