Top 10 Global Health Issues to Watch in 2015


No one could have predicted that Ebola would dominate global health headlines in 2014. We sure didn’t. The virus was nowhere to be found on IntraHealth’s Top 10 Global Health Issues to Watch in 2014 published last January. At the time, the global health community was focused on longstanding challenges such as HIV, family planning, maternal health—all of which have been derailed in some way by Ebola this year.

Will 2015 be some kind of a tipping point? Could it be the year the global health community finally begins to focus on the underlying health systems challenges brought to light by the Ebola epidemic? On the final push to end AIDS? On solving the critical shortage of health workers around the world?

All seven billion of us will be affected in some way by at least one of these issues. They’ll shape what IntraHealth and other global development organizations do in 2015, and how we do it. Here are our top ten predictions:

4: War and unrest*

More than half of all hospitals in Syria have now been attacked by Syrian forces, and over a third are no longer functional. Physicians for Human Rights says 578 health workers have been killed in the ongoing conflict. The violence of 2014—including in Syria, Ukraine, Gaza, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Nigeria—is not over. War, civil unrest, and acts of terrorism can hinder or even reverse progress in all aspects of global development, including health, education, and gender equality.

In 2015, the international community will continue trying to resolve these conflicts and prevent hospitals and health workers from becoming targets of violence. Last year in a landmark resolution, the United Nations stepped up to lead the global effort to protect health workers and hold accountable those who perpetrate violence against them.

* This post originally appeared on Humanosphere. Read the original post to learn about the other top global health issues highlighted. Photo by Carol Bales, courtesy of IntraHealth International.

Margarite Nathe is senior editor and writer at IntraHealth International, which is a steering committee member of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition.