In celebration of World Health Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) banners the theme ‘Universal Health Coverage (UHC): Everyone, Everywhere,’ which focuses on the accessibility of UHC in all regions of the world.
Lamentably, millions are still deprived of quality and affordable medical services due to extreme poverty—wherein people jeopardize healthcare in order to provide themselves with other basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter.
In the Philippines, a report says that around 55% of health spending is out-of-pocket. This impoverishes the already marginalized Filipinos, especially in life-and-death situations. WHO Philippines aims to be more inclusive as it boosts its ‘Health for All’ campaign.
While a lot of work has yet to be done to address the global crises concerning people’s well-being, the recent times have also witnessed promising developments in improving the lives of humanity.
Last month, after the first known report of a functional cure for HIV in the case of Timothy Ray Brown, another patient referred to as the ‘London patient’ seemed to have been cleared of the virus. Diagnosed with HIV back in 2003, the patient underwent a bone marrow transplant as he also developed Hodgkin lymophona some time in 2012.
Almost three years after the stem cell operation, and having been off antiretroviral drugs for more than 18 months, doctors saw no trace of the man’s previous HIV infection.
The good news didn’t stop there. Only days after the London patient, another person referred to as the ‘Dusseldorf patient’ was also reported cured of HIV. The same bone marrow transplant was performed to treat his cancer, which consequently resulted to having no trace of the HIV infection, too. However, the patient was only off the antiviral drugs for three months, relatively lesser time compared to Brown and the London patient. Still, the absence of infection showed promise.
Also in March this year, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved a drug-based nasal spray called ‘Spravato’ that could be the solution to life-threatening implications of treatment-resistant depression.
As it is a nasal-spray, the drug goes through the nose and into the blood stream. It is rapid-acting with effects to be observed within hours or days compared to anti-depressant pills.
On the other hand, in relation to eye care, a recent ophthalmological development posed a possibility of treating cataract without having to perform a surgery. Through a topical eye drop called ‘Lanosterol,’ initial clinical trials were tested to animals such as rabbits and dogs.
Findings showed that when the eye drop was applied to the animals’ affected eyes, the breaking down of proteins which causes the blurry vision in the natural lenses of the eye stopped. Only further studies would prove if this alternative is just as viable for the human eyes.
About two weeks ago, the world commemorated Tuberculosis (TB) Day. The commemoration came with a bold declaration from 13 health experts that TB can be eradicated by 2045. With proper funding which will lead to better screening, treatments and tools, and public awareness, the same experts said that the chronic lung disease is largely preventable and solvable.
Meanwhile, in the hopes of safeguarding the future of the children in the Philippines, a local solon proposed to amend and reinforce the Republic Act 9211, otherwise known as Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.
One of the amendments stated that exposing children to cigarette smoke may soon become a legal violation. The Manila Rep. also initiated to prohibit smoking in all school-related activities, whether within or outside the school premises and whether held indoors or outdoors.
Globally, people remain at risk of countless medical issues. But coincidentally, the world has set forth on a medical journey to pursue holistic wellness and make living less hazardous.
— Cure for HIV? Second person reported to be clear of virus
— Days after the ‘London Patient,’ another person is reported cured of HIV
— No more Tuberculosis by 2045, experts declare
— A cataract cure without surgery? An eye-drop may solve leading cause of blindness
— Overworked to death: the life-threatening dangers of being too workaholic