Public Health can be regarded as a major and complex geopolitical challenge. This is particularly true for developing countries in the Middle East. Notable progress has been achieved since the 1990s throughout the region, and in particular in middle- and high-income countries, shifting major public health threats from communicable diseases to mostly non-communicable diseases, such as heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, mental illness, addiction and so on. Beside these diseases of the modern world, largely due to sedentary and unhealthy lifestyles (including poor diet, smoking, limited physical exercise etc.) large segments of society, including in high-income countries, continue to suffer from preventable diseases (HIV, EBOLA, SARS, Cholera ,Tuberculosis…) and do not have access to appropriate services, thus deepening health inequalities.
In addition, many countries in the MENA region are mired in conflicts and have to deal with health challenges arising from unstable political and security environments. These include poverty, precarious and insufficient water resources, pollution, and unemployment among many other public issues. Thus, any breakdown of the health system in the MENA region has negative consequences on global health, economy, international relations, politics and societies in general.
Since there is a strong correlation between the economy of a country and the health of its citizens, Middle East Strategic Perspectives is introducing the Middle East Public Health section to identify the issues affecting population’s health and address various emerging public health issues, including strategy and policy-making, prevention and monitoring of diseases.
Zeina Assaf Moukarzel MD, MHS, MPH
In collaboration with LAMSA
Linkedin: Lamsa NGO