SEATTLE — The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) focuses on preventing and controlling diseases in the United States. However, its work in preventing the spread of diseases in countries outside of the U.S. has helped lower the fatality rate of some of the most preventable diseases and made the CDC a major influence when it comes to fighting infectious diseases.
According to the World Health Organization, “infectious diseases kill almost nine million people every year,” despite numerous measures that could be taken to prevent these deaths. In most cases, it is a lack of materials, proper sanitation, and education that cost people their lives. This is what the CDC is trying to improve, especially with the introduction of more factors that are making it increasingly difficult when fighting infectious disease.
For one, researchers believe that climate change has become a serious concern in the realm of treating diseases. According to Public Radio International, an example of this can be seen with the heatwave that hit Russia in August 2016. Along with the heatwave, anthrax bacteria from the frozen bodies of human or animals was released into the groundwater of Russia and resulted in the death of a young boy.
This, of course, is only one example of how climate change is affecting CDC’s plans to tackle the spread of illness and how the organization must adapt to the changing world. Furthermore, the CDC is now more important than ever, considering the diminishing influence of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO’s problem lies in the fact that the countries who rely most on the organization do not have the votes to support their population. For example, each nation that is part of the WHO receives one vote, even though more than a third of the world’s population is located in India and China.
Additionally, the CDC’s budgets are greater than the WHO’s, as the WHO has not raised the dues for member states in more than 40 years and is dependent on its big-spending supporters, like the United States and the United Kingdom.
The CDC has to fill a void. As it is becoming more interconnected, the CDC has designed a plan to tackle more health concerns outside of the United States, particularly involving prevention and treatment. Both of these will contribute to the CDC’s work fighting infectious diseases.
For one, its HIV/AIDS Prevention Program for the United States has encouraged the CDC to look into expanding to other countries. Once implemented, these programs can provide cost-effective and scientifically tested methods to treat HIV in the most vulnerable areas.
From designing programs to treat illness to raising awareness about prevention techniques, the CDC has already made inroads around the world to ease public health concerns. With some more encouragement and funding from the United States government, this organization can become a major player in fighting infectious diseases.
– Jacqueline Nicole Artz