The Notorious GBD: Rethinking Global Health

Monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma therapies both aim to administer—either through an IV or subcutaneous injection—antibodies that can help neutralize invading pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2.
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Monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma therapies both aim to administer—either through an IV or subcutaneous injection—antibodies that can help neutralize invading pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2.

The Lancet’s new 2019 Global Burden of Disease report finds consistent improvements in health overall for the past 70 years, but global health still needs a fundamental rethink.

Good News Metrics: From 2000–2019, life expectancy at birth rose from 67.2 years in 73.5 years; and estimated under-5 deaths fell from 9.6 million to 5 million.

Evolving Challenges: The report “raises uncomfortable questions” about global health's direction in the 21st century as it confronts aging populations, increasing NCDs, and other challenges, notes an accompanying editorial.

Some Insights: 

  • It’s not all about health systems: Improving outcomes also means playing catch-up with social and economic development.
  • More robust policies are needed to address key risk factors such as alcohol use, smoking, and high BMI. "Simply providing information on the harms does not appear to be sufficient.” 
  • Low fertility across many nations is emerging as a major challenge—and one that may be best addressed with more liberal immigration policies.
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