8 Health Issues That Made Headlines In 2018

HEALTH is wealth, so goes a popular saying. Despite the advance of medical science, health problems are still around. People are still prone to illnesses and many are still dying. In fact, some of those managed to make headlines. 카지노사이트

The year 2018 will go down in history as one of the most memorable years—in terms of health.  Here are the eight health issues and concerns that get out attention:

1 Diabetes. More than three-fourths of the respondents (77 percent) from the Philippines believe that diabetes is inherited from their parents. About 32 percent of those who were included in the survey are willing to change their diet to support a member of their family with diabetes, and 47 percent are willing to exercise with a diabetic family member.

These findings were part of the five-year Sun Life Financial Asia Diabetes Awareness Study in the region. It was conducted in October 2018 through online interviews with 3,860 respondents aged 25 years old and above in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

“The study aims at understanding the public’s awareness of diabetes and identify the gaps in preventive measures they are willing to take to combat this prevalent health challenge,” said Jeremy Young, Sun Life Financial Asia’s chief marketing officer.

To think, the Philippines has one of the highest number of diabetics in the region. “The number of Filipinos with diabetes is growing at an alarming rate,” wrote Anne Ruth de la Cruz in an article published in BusinessMirror. “The numbers, however, could be higher than reported because there are Filipinos who have not been diagnosed with the disease.” 바카라사이트

With the current population at over 100 million, the Philippines has more than 5 million diagnosed diabetes.

“If nothing is done to stem the alarming trend,” de la Cruz wrote, “the prevalence of diabetes is expected to soar to 20 percent by the year 2045, and more than 100,000 Filipinos would be dying every year due to its complications.”

Tuberculosis. Manuel L. Quezon, the president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, was in exile in the United States when he died of tuberculosis (TB) at Saranac Lake, New York, on August 1, 1944.

Seventy-four years later, TB is still around killing 73 Filipinos every day, according to Dr. Willie T. Ong, who writes a regular column for a national daily. 

The Philippines ranked eighth among the 30 countries with the largest number of TB cases in the world, as per 2016 Global Tuberculosis Report. 

“Each person with active TB can spread the disease to 10 other Filipinos each year! This is alarming since there are between 200,000 and 600,000 Filipinos with active TB. Multiply this by 10, and just imagine how much TB is being spread yearly,” said Ong, an internist-cardiologist.

Even if new TB cases are treated immediately, it would not still be able to stop the spread of the disease; Dr. Aamir Khan told the audience who attended this year’s annual convention of the Philippine Against Tuberculosis. 온라인카지

“People who are already infected will continue to become future TB disease cases and spread the disease further. Shrinking that reservoir of people who are infected with TB is the only way to stop the epidemic,” Khan, an epidemiologist and executive director of the Karachi-based Interactive Research and Development, was quoted as saying by the BusinessMirror in a recent news report.

Dengue.  “Dengue is always a threat to the entire community whole year round, but most importantly during the rainy months when peak of cases occurs,” said the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) in a statement recently.

The reason PCMC issued the statement is because of the five doctors who contracted dengue died. “We mourn the terrible loss that we suffered recently with the death of one of our fellows due to severe dengue,” it said. “The other four had fully recovered.”

There are actually two types of dengue: dengue and severe dengue. The latter, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, was first recognized in the 1950s during dengue epidemics in the Philippines.  

Before 1970, only nine countries had experienced severe dengue epidemics. The disease is now endemic in more than 100 countries, with Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific regions as among the most seriously affected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Measles. With vaccine available for measles, the acute bacterial respiratory infection should have been part of history already—but such is not the case.

In fact, it has returned as a major public health threat. In Davao City, for instance, 22 of the 45 people who were confirmed with measles died. EDGE Davao reporter Ralph Lawrence Llemit reported: “The Davao City Health Office has recorded a total number of 602 suspected measles cases during the first three quarters of 2018, ending in September. During the period in review, 22 of the 45 confirmed cases died of the disease.”

But it’s not only in Davao City where cases of measles surged. It is happening all over the country. According to Dr. Ana Lisa Ong-Lim, head of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society of the Philippines, more than half—69 percent, that is—of children with measles this year “proved to have had no immunization, for reasons such as their parents’ refusal,” Reuters reported.

The international dispatch quoted the lady physician saying that politics behind the controversial anti-dengue vaccine could be “partly blamed for the low trust in the government’s mass immunization program.” There were instances where health workers doing the program were labeled as “killers” in some areas.

Dr. Lulu Bravo, of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, was very alarmed with this recent development. In a meeting on media reporting on vaccines, she was quoted as saying: “We have almost eradicated measles, but we are now seeing a rise in cases, because the trust in vaccines is declining this year. This is disturbing.” 

HIV/AIDS. In 2008 two people per day were diagnosed of having the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), according to the records released by the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health. Since then, the number of Filipinos being infected with HIV daily surged.  

Every day, seven people were infected in 2011, 13 in 2013 and 22 in 2015.  For this year, the number of people diagnosed daily with HIV is 32. HIV is the precursor of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

“Our country has the fastest-growing HIV infection rate in the Asia-Pacific region,” bares Dr. Louie Mar A. Gangcuangco, an infectious disease researcher whose expertise in HIV field is recognized internationally. “This is something we should be very concerned about.”

Not only that. The Philippines “has also become one of the eight countries that account for more than 85 percent of new infections in the region,” stated a report from the United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS).

The exponential increase in HIV infection in the country, according to Gangcuangco, is “very alarming because the people who are affected are mostly young individuals.” 

In February 2018, for instance, about 871 new HIV cases were recorded by the HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines. The median age among those reported cases was 27 years old. Half of those infected were 24 to 35 years old and 29 percent were 15 to 24 years old at the time of testing.

Cervical cancer. Every day, cervical cancer kills 12 Filipinos, mostly women.  Although it does not spared men, cervical cancer is women’s enemy number two. “In the Philippines, cervical cancer is second to breast cancer as the most common malignancy that afflicts and kills women,” reports Dr. Cecilia Ladines-Llave, former chairman of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital Cancer Institute.

Between breast cancer and cervical cancer, the latter is the deadlier.  As Rina Jimenez-David, a recognized advocate in reproductive health, puts it: “While breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women in the country, it is not the most deadly. The death toll from cervical cancer is higher than for breast cancer, and this is mainly because by the time its victims come for treatment, it is already too late.”

Women should have themselves check for cervical cancer before it’s too late. “We have got good treatments for cervical cancer especially if we detect it early, in which state it becomes definitely curable. This is why screening is very important,” said Prof. Ian Frazer, a clinical immunologist and currently the chairman of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation’s Medical Research Advisory Committee. “The problem arises if a woman waits until she finds she is sick of cervical cancer, wherein by that time, the disease is so advanced that is already becomes incurable.”

Alcoholism. Alcohol kills more than HIV/AIDS, violence and road accidents combined, according to the recent report released by the United Nations health agency.  

The report said HIV/AIDS is responsible for 1.8 percent of global deaths, road injuries for 2.5 percent and violence for 0.8 percent. In comparison, the harmful use of alcohol kills more than 3 million people each year. That’s about 1 in 20 deaths—and most of them belong to the male species. “More than three quarters of these deaths were among men,” pointed out the WHO report, Global Status Report On Alcohol And Health 2018.

The WHO report represents a comprehensive picture of alcohol consumption and the disease burden attributable to alcohol around the world. “Overall, the harmful use of alcohol causes more than 5 percent of the global disease burden,” it said.

The United Nations health agency said that alcohol consumption causes death and disability relatively early in life. In the age group 20 to 39 years, for instance, approximately 13.5 percent of the total deaths can be attributed to alcohol. 

The report said that the harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions. “Drinking alcohol is associated with a risk of developing health problems such as mental and behavioral disorders, including alcohol dependence, major noncommunicable diseases such as liver cirrhosis, some cancers and cardiovascular diseases, as well as injuries resulting from violence and road clashes and collisions,” the WHO explained.

Medical marijuana. A day after President R. Duterte joked about using marijuana to keep him awake; he again reiterated his approval for the legalization of medical marijuana.

A couple of years back, the President replied when asked by a television reporter on the subject: “Medical marijuana, yes, because it is really an ingredient of modern medicine.  There are medicines being developed, or are now in the market, that contain marijuana for medical purposes.”

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo explained that the President was in favor of “controlled” and “regulated use of marijuana for medical purposes.” The President, however, strongly opposed to the use of marijuana as a recreational drug.

Newsweek believes 2018 will go down in history as “a year of global change. This is as far marijuana—known in the science world as Cannabis sativa—is concerned.

“We’ve seen massive changes overtake a global cannabis culture already establishing itself at a remarkable pace,” the American magazine pointed out. “Canada has joined Uruguay as the second country in the world to legalize cannabis for adult use, markets in the US are growing with every election season, and even countries like Lebanon—whose long-standing diplomatic efforts with the West and its drug warriors caused a long tradition of excellent cannabis to fall by the wayside—are rethinking their relationship to the plant.” 

Former Health Secretary Jaime Galvez Tan, like the President, is in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana. His reason: “More people in the Philippines are suffering from epilepsy and other neurological disorders. It is safer and cheaper way to treat patients.”

Leave a Comment