The World Health Organization (WHO) has just released a report detailing what they think will be the biggest health challenges for the next decade. It’s a sobering wake up call for people, companies and governments. The good news is that we can address a number of the concerns, the bad news is, the global community has pretty much failed in doing so over the previous decade. Hopefully we get it right this time, when called.
The WHO’s list was developed with input from experts around the world and reflects a deep concern that leaders are failing to invest enough resources in core health priorities and systems. This puts lives, livelihoods and economies in jeopardy. None of these issues are simple to address, but they are within reach. Public health is ultimately a political choice.
All the challenges in this list demand a response from more than just the health sector. The world faces shared threats and it has a shared responsibility to act. With the deadline for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals quickly approaching, the United Nations General Assembly has underscored that the next 10 years must be the “decade of action“.
This means advocating for national funding to address gaps in health systems and health infrastructure, as well as providing support to the most vulnerable countries. Investing now will save lives – and money – later. The cost of doing nothing is one the world cannot afford. Governments, communities, and international agencies must work together to achieve these critical goals. There are no shortcuts to a healthier world. 2030 is fast approaching, and we must hold our leaders accountable for their commitments.
The health challenges for the next decade are real, they’re formidable, but they can be met with a collective and unified global response.