Health problems in developing Nations. Many health problems of the developing world arise from the interaction of three forces; infectious diseases, especially of infants and young children , malnutrition and uncontrolled population growth. Infectious disease takes a terrible toll. There are about a billion cases each year of some of the common infectious diseases- diarrhea, respiratory infection, malaria, schistosomiasis, tuberculosis, and intestinal parasites. More than a million deaths occur each year from malaria alone in Africa.
About 3 million children die in each year from diarrhea, 4 million die from respiratory infections and another 3 million from combination of malnutrition and vaccine-preventable diseases, especially measles. About 150000 deaths are due to neonatal tetanus, while about half a million maternal deaths occur each year in the developing world. By the end of year 2003, there were 45 million people living with HIV / AIDS in the world. AIDS kills about 3 million people annually.
The developing countries are experiencing the problem of population explosion. Their population is relatively young; 35% are below the age of 15 years. High population density favors the spread of communicable disease; so population pressure not only drains food resources and leads to wide spread malnutrition, but also sets the stage for epidemics. Malnutrition enhances susceptibility to infection, and circle in infection / malnutrition complex that causes many premature deaths in developing countries.
Thus the three problems: population pressure, malnutrition, and infection constantly reinforce one another. There is a gap in life expectancy at birth between developed and developing countries. While lower life expectancy and lower infant and child mortality rates characterize the developed countries, the opposite is true of developing countries. Apart from these, in the developing countries, there is an increase in the environmental damage, occupational diseases and accidental deaths.
The solutions to many health problems in developing nations are elusive, at least in part because of poor planning inadequate organization, and misplaced value. The human factors are inequitable access to health care, higher priority given to the treatment than prevention, uneven distribution among the health professions, inappropriate investment in high technology, lack of health information, lack of trained primary health care workers, administrative deficiencies and lack of communication facilities.