The environment, new political challenges

Image: Elyeser Szturm
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By Hélio Bacha

Health in the world has markers of important advances in recent decades. The infant mortality rate is falling rapidly. In the year 2000, 5 million children – aged 0 to 5 years – died annually, currently it is half. Diseases such as tuberculosis, aids, malaria, thanks to the efforts of multilateral international organizations and the commitment of countries to carry out supervised health programs committed to defined goals, have reduced their impact in terms of damage.

Brazil was associated with these advances with government commitments, investments and goals, as well as the fundamental participation of non-governmental organizations with educational initiatives, dissemination and organization of services at the local level.

So is everything ok? Unfortunately not. Multilateralism is threatened in its initiatives by the emergence of “nationalist” and irrational, anti-scientific ideologically based policies, with its maximum manifestation in flat earthism and neo-Darwinist right-wing movements that conspire against the foundations of already established practices in public health as the priority of prevention diseases through mass vaccination.

The environmental issue gains great importance in the face of new threats to health with the expansion of the epidemic frontiers of diseases such as yellow fever, dengue, zika, chikungunia, measles, hunger, oncological diseases, chronic lung diseases, among many others. Global warming, deforestation, and chaotic urban growth are threatening the regression of health achievements in recent decades.

The economic development proposed by the new political right, in charge of governments of countries of economic, military and social importance such as Brazil, Russia, United States, England, is incompatible with civilizing well-being in terms of health and healthy living.

And the world reacts and denounces. From Pope Francis to, until recently unknown, Greta Thunberg, they implement protest actions by millions of people around the world.

Will the world be saved? Yes, for the time being yes, although it is not known at what cost. As never before, this is the time to reaffirm our desire to build a world without borders for solidarity, fraternity and ideas.

The environment theme is vast, I will try to address more details in the “next chapters”.

*helio Bacha he is an infectologist

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