From where I’m sitting, the world is ailed by the structural suppression of the masses by apathetic overlords.
More specifically related to health, what ails the world is the fact that resources to treat basic physical and mental ailments are unavailable to those without sufficient financial resources, aka a significant percentage of the world. This isn’t to say that these resources don’t exist, just that they’re held out of the reach of many in need.
The power dynamics created by this economic imbalance contributes to a ridiculous number of issues plaguing the world. These include unsanitary conditions, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the lethality of cancer, misunderstandings of physical and mental conditions leading to abuse and apathy, pregnancy too early for the body to handle leading to a string of complications, the poisoning and destruction of resources by industries that create health hazards, and many more.
We’ve all seen the effects of this imbalance of resources for ourselves. Once when I was volunteering at a makeshift free clinic created for migratory farmers a few years back I watched as a man explained to the doctor that the inside of his ear had been hurting for months before he finally took matters into his own hands. As he lacked any training or equipment, this took the form of prodding around in his head with a metal wire. In doing this he’d felt a pop and release that had actually cured him of his pain. After inspecting the man the doctor explained to him that he’d had an ear infection the he wouldn’t have had the medicine to treat and that he’d popped his own eardrum. This man had to pop his eardrum to alleviate the pain in the time that it took for him to find someone to give him a basic examination. Even then, he ended up being diagnosed him a problem he wouldn’t have had the money to fix anyways. This unfortunate story narrates one story amongst many that show the detrimental effect of poor circulation of resources. In comparison, I’ve walked into the mansion of a friend and seen medicine cabinets filled with unnecessary oxycodone and various other prescription drugs that some people can’t even get if they need surgery.
Thus far I’ve given my personal anecdotes about the stratification of resources in the world, but there is more proof then just my own experiences. Take, for example, the strategies of the World Bank, one of the more powerful institutions in the world. The World Bank specifically puts countries under economic stress as a strategy to “help” said countries participate in the world markets, fully understanding that it will be the country’s poor who pay. One example of this was their cooperation in the farce that was the Bataan Nuclear Power Station in the Philippines,
a project designed to fail for the sole purpose of putting the filipino people into debt, thus putting them under the thumb of the same institutions who had a hand in initially sending them into debt.
The world is filled with troubles, but a huge contribution to why so many of them are allowed to fester is the hoarding of resources by a few apathetic jerks.