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Economics plays a significant role in global health issues. In general, wealthier countries are healthier countries (Markle, et al., 2013). It is unclear whether increased wealth or improved health leads is the driver of the relationship or if there is a third undiscovered factor (Markle, et al., 2013). It is clear that there is some causal relationship between wealth and health which is positive (Markle, et al., 2013). Several global health initiatives address this relationship in the framework of their goals (CDC, 2021). Whether it is the millennium goals, sustainable development goals, or the CDC’s own global strategy, improving economics is key to creating better health outcomes around the world (CDC, 2021).
In this context my research took me to the CDC’s global health strategy. There I found several goals outlined which address global health issues. Specifically, the CDC has outline three main goals addressing Health Security, health Impact, and Public health science leadership (CDC, 2021). Under each goal are several sub goals pertaining to the goal category. Relevant to my discussion is objective 2.1 which reads, ‘Reduce the morbidity and mortality of high burden diseases and conditions’ (CDC, 2021). High burden diseases have an enormous economic impact globally, particularly in poor and developing nations (Zhang, et al., 2020). Several diseases meet the criteria of ‘high burden’ diseases such as HIV and Malaria. However, I chose to discuss Tuberculosis (TB).
TB is a well characterized disease that impacts countries on a widespread scale. While there have been improvements through initiatives such as the MDG and SDG, TB remains a troubling global issue (Zhang, et al., 2020). 10 million people globally are infected with TB and 1.6 million die each year from the disease (Zhang, et al., 2020). Nearly 95% of these infections occur in developing countries (Markle, et al., 2013). Additonally, TB affects primarily working age individuals (15 – 54), where infection means 20% – 30% loss of yearly wages due to months of treatment and recovery (Markle, et al., 2013). Furthermore, those who die from the disease leave an estimated 15 year loss of income (Markle, et al., 2013). TB is interlinked with poverty as crowded and unsanitary living conditions are significant risk factors for infection (Markle, et al., 2013). Conversely, those infected are often forced into poverty through the sale of assets which is necessary to pay for treatment (Markle, et al., 2013). As stated before many of the initiatives have seen some success in combating TB and reducing the overall disease burden but more work is needed in order to help developing countries with this issue (Zhang, et al., 2020).