Good Health for All—A Reachable Goal?
DO YOU wish that you and your family could enjoy better health? Of course you do. But while most of us may suffer only occasional minor illnesses, for millions of people, infirmity is a painful, lifelong companion.
Nevertheless, large-scale efforts are being made to stem the tide of sickness and disease. Consider the World Health Organization (WHO), an agency of the United Nations. At a conference sponsored by WHO in 1978, delegates from 134 lands and 67 UN organizations agreed that health is not simply freedom from sickness or disease. Health, they declared, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.” The delegates then took the bold step of declaring health to be a “fundamental human right”! WHO thus set the goal of achieving “an acceptable level of health for all the people of the world.”
Such a goal is appealing, even noble. But how likely is it that it will ever be achieved? Of all the fields of human endeavor, medicine has certainly become one of the most trusted and admired. According to the British newspaper The European, people in Western lands have grown accustomed to “the traditional medical concept of the ‘silver bullet’ cure: one pill to solve one problem.” In other words, for every ailment, we expect the medical field to deliver a simple and straightforward cure. Can the medical profession really fulfill such a high expectation?