Throughout the history of mankind, humans are faced with various diseases in every phase of their history. From biblical plagues of ancient times to AIDS of modern day, fatal diseases have always been a headache for human race. The continual expansion of human population has contributed to continuous attacks by infectious diseases. In fact, one of the most important determinants of human fate has always been the disease. Starting from 2nd century AD, Rome and Asia were hit hard by the agony of measles. It contributed to an enormous amount of deaths in the region. Next century saw the anguish of smallpox in the same region which wiped out more than one-third of total population of the region within a very short period of time. The next most lethal disease outbreak occurred in 13th and 14th centuries in Eastern Europe. Mongol horsemen brought disease-ridden fleas from Burma which caused Black Death in the region. It brought havoc on the population of this region and anywhere between 75 to 200 million people fell prey to this plague. Black Death or Great Plague is considered as one of most cruel plagues ever witnessed by mankind. It wiped put nearly 50% of the total population of Europe from the face of earth. It took more than 200 years to bring the population of the world at the level before the plague.
After suffering one blow after the other by disease outbreaks, human history saw another mass loss of lives by disease; one of most lethal in human history. When Columbus arrived in Americas, settlers from all over the Europe started flooding in. The Europeans brought microbes with their ships which gave birth to typhus, chickenpox, smallpox, measles, influenza and diphtheria. Native population of Americas was unaware of the dangers they were going to face due to these new diseases brought by the Europeans in their region. In around two hundred years, staring from the arrival of Europeans in Americas, around 95 percent of the native population was wiped out.
After settling in Americas, Europeans started bringing in Africans as slaves to act as labour in place of the natives who had died of diseases and a number of other factors. Along with the ships that brought African to Americas, came the diseases from Africa, including dengue, yellow fever and malaria. These diseases had their fair share in eradicating human population. Bird flu was another disease which destroyed both the livestock and human population. It was first recorded in 1878 in Italy, but the first major outbreak was in 1924 to 1925 in the United States. Millions of birds have died since due to this disease. The microbes of most diseases require a medium for their transportation. By the time Europeans settled in Americas, smallpox, measles or any other disease like these could travel around the world during a span of around 1 year by ships and road transportation. Today, due to the revolution in transportation system, time required for a disease to reach any corner of the world has reduced to almost 36 hours from 1 year. One particular danger caused due to this transportation revolution is that people can travel faster than the incubation period of many diseases, which means that a person would travel from one continent to a different continent and spread a disease there without even knowing he is carrying some contagious disease.
With the advancement in medicine, the diseases which used to be so detrimental that they threatened the survival of human population, became curable. Vaccinations for a number of fatal diseases were made which contributed to better health conditions of individuals of modern world. But with modern treatment strategies, the microbes of diseases grew immune to the old medicines and they started becoming stronger. A number of new diseases were on the rise due to more intelligent disease microbes. Among these diseases, HIV is the most deadly of them all. It came from a virus present in chimpanzees in Africa in 1930’s. This virus got transferred to humans when a hunter came into direct contact with the blood of an affected chimpanzee. In just a decade, this virus spread across Africa and eventually many other regions of the world. A report from The World Health Organization states that HIV is the fourth biggest reason of deaths all over the world and is the biggest cause for deaths in Africa. An estimation concludes that over 14 million people have died due to HIV till now and another 33 million people are suffering from HIV.
Another example of fatal disease in the modern era is Ebola. The first case of Ebola was reported in 1976 in Sudan and the first outbreak consumed the lives of 284 people. Ebola virus has the highest mortality rate among modern diseases. Today, diseases like cancer, dengue fever, hepatitis, diabetes and a number of other diseases are a major cause of human causalities. These diseases are curable and modern treatment technologies are being developed with every passing day to help people get rid of these diseases for good.
Despite all these modern researches being conducted on disease treatment and billions of dollars being poured to fund these researches and the development of cheap and more practice solutions, we are nowhere near in eradicating these diseases. There are a number of factors that act as hurdles in disease prevention and treatment. One of the most common and widely accepted reason contributing to lack of disease control is poverty. A number of diseases are caused just due to poverty and it hinders in their treatment. Most of the diseases have their treatment available, but their medicines and treatment methods are so expensive that majority of the world population is not able to afford it. People often find it hard to make their both ends meet and if any one of the family members falls ill, then it does an irreparable damage to the financial conditions of the poor families.
Second most common obstacle in disease treatment is illiteracy and lack of awareness. Most of the times, people are unaware about the symptoms of various diseases and they don’t pay any heed when their symptoms start to appear during the initial stage of diseases. They only realise that they are sick when the disease has already done the damage and their organs are damaged beyond treatment. They are cynical towards modern treatment methods and attach conspiracy theories with the medicines. For example, Pakistan is one of only two countries which is still unable to eradicate polio. Among many reasons behind this failure, is the illiteracy and lack of sense among masses. People think that giving the polio drops to their children would affect their fertility and they won’t be able to have kids when they’ll get older. This factor is among the hardest to overcome obstacles in the treatment of the disease.
Another reason behind the lack of disease treatment is the ineffective health care systems. In most of the countries around the world, there are no proper health care systems to perform the disease treatment. Many countries either lack basic health facilities or are unable to efficiently manage their resources. As a result, many poor people are left untreated to die of their diseases.
One of the more common factors for inability to treat the disease is the lack of medicines. There a number of diseases today whose treatment has not been found yet despite the advancement in technology. Diseases have become so lethal that normal medicines are no longer effective to treat them. There’s an increasing need to develop the treatment for these diseases because they are proving to be very detrimental to human survival. The cure of many diseases today, is either unavailable or is so expensive that even individuals from the middle-class families cannot afford it.
Diseases have always been there throughout the history of mankind. They are often responsible for a major decline in human population. From ancient times to today, humans have always struggled to get rid of diseases. Even if they become successful in containing these diseases, they come back in different forms and intensity. A number of factors are found to be the obstacles hindering the treatment of the diseases. Among those factors are poverty, illiteracy, lack of awareness, lack of good health care institutions, and sometimes, the incurable nature of the disease. These obstacles can be overcome by starting initiatives to eradicate poverty, which is the single most important factor. There’s also a need to educate people and create the awareness about the diseases, their symptoms, and their treatment. People should be made aware of the food they are consuming and their daily routines. They should be encouraged to exercise on regular basis and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Governments all over the world should work hard to develop their healthcare infrastructure and their healthcare institutions. They should make sure that every citizen of their country has access to affordable and quality treatment. Lastly, efforts should be made to develop the treatment for the diseases which are currently incurable and a lot of research and development is needed to be done in this area. In order to have a world free from all the diseases, we all must join our hands and strive hard to overcome all the obstacles in the treatment of diseases.
Cite this Essay
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below