Mikio Hayashi writes:

According to the World Health Report (1995), communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and respiratory infections as well as maternal, perinatal and neonatal conditions account for about 20 million, or about 40%, of the 51 million global deaths; and 99% of these occur in the developing world. Of the 20 million deaths due to communicable diseases more than 16 million, or about 80%, are due to infectious and parasitic diseases. Tuberculosis kills about 3 million people, malaria around 2 million and hepatitis B possibly 1 million.

The report says that among the major communicable diseases, tuberculosis was responsible for more than 5% of the global total of deaths - over 7,000 a day. The report estimates that there will be 8.8 million new cases in 1995 - equal to more than 1,000 new cases every hour of every day. "Drug treatment, in most cases costing as little as US $13-30 per person for a six-month course, can cure people; but providing the drugs to those who need them, and ensuring that patients take them for the required period, is a major public health challenge."

Meanwhile the lethal relationship of tuberculosis with HIV is making the death toll many times worse. During the next 10 years in Asia alone it is estimated that tuberculosis and AIDS together will kill more people than the entire populations of the cities of Singapore, Beijing, Yokohama and Tokyo combined.

Non communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease account for about 19 million deaths, or 36% of the global total, divided more or less equally between the developing and the developed world. The great majority of such deaths are among adults.

The Japanese medical community should send some medicine and personnel to the developing countries that are in trouble with communicable diseases. And doctors and nurses must go there to be volunteers. They would treat them. The Japanese medical community should start a system of volunteers from Japan to developing countries. In Japan we have many non government organizations that help developing countries. It's good that there are many people worried about other counties and try to help people in developing country by themselves. But I think it's better that the organizations work together systematically, because this would create more money and personnel and do more in terms of aid for people in developing countries. And it would be easier to get betterinformation about health progress in developing countries. In contast, if each small organization works by istself, the aid for developing countries might be low level and the people that are helped might be small in number.

Additionally, I think the most important thing is education. Of course, doctors and nurses from developed countries should teach the people public health, knowledge of diseases and ways of prevention. But Japanese and other volunteers are foreigners in the end, so they will return to their countries after finishing their work. So they should train some leaders who are young people in the developing world. It might be difficult for them to do so in some developing countries, because they wouldn't have much time and the young people in those countries also wouldn't have money and time to learn. And I think education must be done by the people themselves, because foreigners might destroy the culture in a developing country and the people would have dependence on foreigners. So one suggestion would be that the Japanese government give the young people in developing countries enough money to come to Japan and to study.

Another problem is AIDS. AIDS kills people in the developing countries as well as people in developed countries. The Japanese medical community should send doctors and medicines to treat them and teach them knowledge of diseases and ways of prevention. Also developed countries like Japan should improve the technique to care for the disease. Japanese medical community must take more research expense and develop medicines for the disease.

Communicable diseases kill people in developing countries. On the other hand, developed countries are in trouble with non communicable diseases. The Japanese medical community should improve techniques to care for both types of disease. And they should educate people in developing countires about the importance of the food and exercise. For example, they should teach children the importance of balanced diet in elementary school or junior high school. And the government had better help build public institutions like swimming pools for daily exercise. We should learn more about the living conditions in developing countries, which have poverty and starvation, and we must reconsider how to enrich their life styles.

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