Biology- Worldwide importance of certain diseases

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Why are diseases important?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) maintains that good health is a human right. Poor health causes a lot of suffering. Ill health also has an economic coast as a result of the need to provide medical services, and due to the loss of productivity. People who are ill can’t work. In many parts of the world, people do not have access to the basic requirements for good health. In many less economically developed countries, the following aspects may contribute to the poor health of people. There may be:

·         poverty

·         lack of proper shelter

·         lack of purified water

·         poor nutrition

·         poor hygiene

·         lack of investment by the government

·         poor or inadequate health services

·         inadequate education about the causes of disease and how they are transmitted

·         civil unrest or warfare

·         inadequate transport facilities that prevent people reaching medical assistance



Malaria kills about 3 million people a year. About 300 million people affected by malaria worldwide, and the no. is increasing. Malaria is limited to the areas in which the vector mosquito, Anopheles, can survive. This is currently the tropical regions. Of all the people with malaria, 90% live in Sub-Saharan Africa. With the onset of global warming, the Anopheles mosquito may soon be able to survive further north, even in parts of Europe.



HIV/ AIDS is a worldwide disease. It is still spreading in pandemic proportions. There were approx. 45 million people living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2005. More than half of these were in the region of sub-Saharan Africa. Every year about 5 million people are newly infected. By the end of 2005, nearly 30 million people had died from HIV/ AIDS related diseases. By 2006-07 HIV/ AIDS was rapidly spreading across China, Russia and other eastern European countries. It is thought the number of people with HIV/ AIDS in China will soon exceed the number in any other country.


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