More often than not, globalization is associated increase in development due to the interdependence between economies. Increased flow of information and technology as a result of globalization has led to the emergence of new economies. From one place to another, globalization has also been associated with the degradation of the moral fabric in some societies. This is especially when more liberal lifestyles from developed nations impact on the conservative lifestyles that people in less developed nations lead. It is surprising that as much attention has not been given to globalization and disease.
Owing to globalization, diseases travel faster than ever before in the history of the world. Presently, there are more inexpensive and efficient means of transportation. As such, very few places in the globe are inaccessible. The increase in global trade has not only led to increased movement of people but also agricultural produce and animals and animal products. Consequently, more people come into contact with zoonotic diseases; a fact that has intensified the spread of such diseases.
While globalization has intensified the spread of diseases, it is also notable that globalization has also created means for faster transmission of tools to fight against diseases. News of an outbreak of a contagious disease travels fast across all corners of the world. Through technological advancement, there is a better understanding of diseases. The world is better prepared to combat diseases than any other time in history. Many governments gave communicable diseases surveillance systems than not only monitor but also report the emergence of communicable diseases.
Screening has intensified at border points in order to identify and quarantine infected persons and animals. For instance, on the Kenya-Uganda border at Malaba, thorough cross examinations and screening is done for all persons travelling across the border following confirmed cases of Ebola in neighboring Uganda. According to the director of the infection control department in the Health Ministry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, all foreigners going for pilgrimage in the countries and have flu-like symptoms will be subjected to tests before being allowed to the country. According to Cable News Network, it is increasingly difficult to avoid health personnel wielding infrared thermometers in the main entry points into Hong Kong (Whiteman, 2013). This is in tandem with its efforts to enhance its defense systems against bird flu (H7N9 Strain).
Future trends are bound to change with the increasing ease in the transmission of infectious diseases and disease microorganisms from one region or country to another. Different governments will want to protect their citizens from contracting the infectious diseases. While medical surveillance efforts will be stepped up in order to detect outbreaks and stem them, I hypothesize that it is going to take more than surveillance to protect citizens. Previously, we have witnessed various governments giving travel advisories for various countries and regions due to perceived or apparent insecurity.
In the travel advisories, governments caution their citizens who intended on travelling to the said regions or countries. I hypothesize that in the near future; there will be an unprecedented number of travel advisories based on outbreaks of infectious diseases in certain regions and countries. I anticipate a trend where governments will advise their citizens to exercise caution when travelling to certain countries premised on outbreaks of infectious diseases. It is noteworthy that this is not a new thing seeing that it has already been done. In May of 2011, the Center for Disease Control in the United States of America issued a travel advisory for those travelling to Germany.
This was following the outbreak of Escherichia coli that led to the hospitalization of numerous people, most of them requiring intensive care and the death of over eighteen people. Precedents like this one will be a common trend in future. Disease control centers in different countries will not only be seeking to protect their citizens but also limit the introduction of disease causing microorganisms in their respective countries through infected individuals (Phelps, 2011).
A Map showing the areas affected by the Escherichia coli
As a result of this trend, different political and social changes are bound to occur. The political and social changes will either be for or against the trend. Nonetheless, they will have different impacts on both the economy and the citizens. Travel advisories caution citizens when travelling to certain parts of the world. The travel advisories feature measures that travelers can undertake in order to enhance their safety. For instance, in the travel advisory issued for travelers to Germany, they were asked to abstain from eating raw vegetables and report any cases of stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea to the doctor. Following such advisories, some people might cancel their trips altogether.
This will change the holidaying habits for various people. Ugandan authorities were worried about the fate of tourism in their country after the last outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease. Tourist operators reported cancellations of trips to the country’s tourist sites and hotel bookings amid concerns of the outbreak. In the United Kingdom, polls reported massive cancellations of planned Easter holiday trips after the outbreak of the foot and mouth disease (Russell, 2001). Americans are known to flock tourist sites on holiday seasons. A change in holidaying habits because of travel advisories will affect the culture of tourism in the country. It is documented that disease outbreaks have an effect on tourism and business operations.
Making reference to the foot and mouth disease outbreak in the United Kingdom, the outbreak cost the beer industry over thirty eight million sterling pounds every month because of a change in the holidaying habits occasioned by the disease outbreak (Russell, 2001). Another social change that I anticipate is the denial of certain rights and liberties. Under the bill of rights in many constitutions globally, individuals have the freedom of movement. However, in order to curb the spread of the infectious microorganisms that are harbored in infected individuals, quarantines and isolation will be employed. Expectedly, individuals who are infected will be quarantined and treated in isolation in order to stem the spread of the disease.
The United States has a strong sense of constitutionalism. This is a culture that has been entrenched on its citizens over many years. The curtailing of individual freedoms and liberties is also provided for under sections of the constitution. It is my opinion that the populace would comfortably embrace this social change. A host of political changes are also anticipated due to the hypothesized trend. As has been espoused above, travel advisories and disease outbreaks affecting economies. As such, I anticipate increased cooperation between disease control departments in various countries.
I anticipate where these departments will work in unison in order to not only curb the spread of cases but also mitigate the impact such outbreaks have on the economy. The center for disease control in the United States of America maintains many centers all over the world (Sullivan & Jordan, 2009). Through collaborations with local professionals in these countries, they detect disease outbreaks. This is the kind of collaboration that I anticipate only at a greater scale. Such collaborations are expected to step up response systems. The local culture has attribute of philanthropy entrenched in it. This is evidenced by the numerous aids that the country directs to worthy courses. Collaboration with other control centers would require increased investments in terms of finances. This would be completed by the culture of philanthropy in the United States. Increasingly, America has business interests in various parts of the world. It is the government’s task to protect its citizens and its interests. This is one of the rationales for the increased cooperation between it and other governments.
Globalization has its advantages and disadvantages. While it is responsible for the increased transmission of communicable diseases, globalization also provides remedies and ways to help treat and prevent such diseases. Since globalization is here to stay, we will see new trends in dealing with the spread of diseases from outbreaks in various parts of the world. Increased collaboration that is fueled by globalization is expected. Vaccines will be transported to disease prone areas expeditiously. Government departments working in the health sector will experience closer collaborations in order to protect and nurture the working relationships that exist between different countries. This is because of the interdependence that has been fostered between different countries and economies by globalization.
Phelps, R. (2011). Emergency Management & Safety Solutions Out of Danger Comes Opportunity. Available at http://ems-solutionsinc.com/blog /cdc-issue s-a-travel- advisory -for- germany- due-to-escherichia-coli-stec-bacteria-outbreakat-least-18-have-died- thousands-sickened/
Russell, B. (2001). Polls show disease's impact on tourism. Available at http://www.independent. co.uk/news /uk/this-britain/polls-show-diseases-impact-on- tourism-680963.html
Sullivan, K. & Jordan, M. (2009). Diseases Travel Fast, but So Do Tools to Fight Them. Available at http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009-04-29/world/ 36852548_ 1_outbreaks-swine-flu-robert-f-breiman
Whiteman, H. (2013). Hong Kong tightens bird flu defenses. Available at http://www.cnn.com /2013/04/29/ world/asia/china-hong-kong-bird-flu