WHY IS GLOBAL HEALTH IMPORTANT?
Every 20 seconds a child dies from preventable disease and every day 830 women die from complications during childbirth, every day a child must drop out of education because they have become sick or they must care for sick family, and every day children lose their mothers. Family poverty often directly affects children most through their access to shelter, food, water, sanitation, education, health and information. When a child is deprived of one or more of these essential services, their experience of poverty deepens.
The Qur’an identifies poverty as the reason for hunger and emphasises the need to reduce the inequalities that are forced upon children. An example of this is in the prohibition of killing children due to poverty in Surah Al-Anam, “… do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them…” (Qur’an 6:151)
A woman dies from complications in childbirth approximately every minute. In developing countries, complications which from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of disease and death among women of reproductive age. The 2005 World Health Organization’s World Health Report found that poor maternal conditions are the fourth leading cause of death for women globally and that most maternal deaths and injuries can be prevented. Just in 2015, 68 low-income countries tracked by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF were estimated to hold 97% of worldwide maternal and child deaths.
The Islamic tradition promotes the practice of medicine as a service to humanity. Physical and spiritual well being are intimately related in popular Muslim consciousness. The Qur’an also emphasises the obligation of providing for the orphans and those who are vulnerable. “And when [other] relatives and orphans and the needy are present at the [time of] division, then provide for them [something] out of the estate and speak to them words of appropriate kindness.” (Qur’an 4:8).
In 2010, about 104 million children were underweight, and under-nutrition contributed to about one third of child deaths around the world. Under-nutrition can leave the body vulnerable to infections and impair the immune system. The consequences of this for the population include compromising intellectual potential, growth, development, and adult productivity. Thus deepening the poverty cycle and threatening future generations unless there are sustainable solutions and interventions.