April 30, 2024

Health of young people


The yellow U booklet is full: U1 - U9 successfully completed. Malte is now almost six years old and will be starting school next year. His parents have been to the various check-ups and have had the routine checks carried out on their offspring. Fortunately! Among other things, it was discovered early on that Malte is hard of hearing. However, the little boy was quickly helped by appropriate training and a hearing aid. There were no impairments in speech comprehension, language development and the associated limitations in social skills. Nothing stands in the way of him starting school with his friends of the same age. His parents will of course continue to take him for the recommended check-ups, as well as ensuring that they themselves have regular check-ups with the gynecologist, visits to the dentist and skin cancer screening. Early detection of illnesses and the associated treatment options are very important to them.

What we take for granted here in Germany is completely unimaginable in many other countries around the world. A doctor is only consulted in the event of an acute illness and even that is often simply impossible for logistical or financial reasons. Around one billion people worldwide have no access to adequate healthcare. The health of women and children in particular suffers as a result. Which countries are most affected is reflected above all in average life expectancy: in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, life expectancy is well below the global average at 60 years.

Fortunately, however, there is a positive trend here: Over the past 20 years, basic medical care has improved in a large part of the world. The maternal mortality rate, for example, fell by 43% between 1990 and 2015, and the mortality rate for children under the age of five was also reduced by more than half.

This development is due in part to the many projects that have emerged from the WHO's goal of promoting young people's health.

Artemed Stiftung also has a whole range of initiatives in this area: for example, the Street Doctors in Bolivia offer medical check-ups for street children in La Paz, in Tanzania our colleagues travel to various communities to carry out cervical cancer screenings and test young children for malnutrition, and in Myanmar our Irrawaddy River Doctors check-ups visit remote villages to carry out check-ups on the local population. Of course, if any abnormal findings are found, appropriate further treatment is then suggested. Even if this work is often difficult and associated with obstacles, we are happy about every life that can be improved as a result, just like Malte!

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