What is something that we have we learned from medical epidemics? Globalization is a gift and a curse. As the world continues to unite and globalize goods, services, and cultures, there is one element that is still lagging behind - the globalization of healthcare. With globalization, traveling has never been easier as you can go from and to any part of the world in 24 hours. On top of that, growing cooperation between countries has decreased the alertness on country borders. Ultimately, this has become one of the causes of the global spread of diseases and infections, since they can spread at a rapid and dismantling pace. Attempts at addressing this problem and increasing globalization have been demonstrated through medical tourism, which has made progress but also suffered some setbacks.

Medical tourism is when patients in need of healthcare seek alternative services outside of their domestic countries. The reasoning varies per patient, but the trend is to find the best scenario for a patient’s particular economic and health needs. Particularly common is seeking out cheaper alternatives that do not sacrifice quality. Medical tourism was projected to be an explosive boom for global healthcare, but instead it died down because of isolated concerns such as ease of accessibility through insurances, foreign regulations, and issues of quality.

However, a festering thorn of globalization still lies in the gaps of healthcare systems around the world. Developing countries are still experiencing a high demand for affordable medicine and their demands are not being met. Any advancement in these deficient systems could save thousands of lives and minimize the spread of diseases, but it has not gained much traction. As a global unit, we have failed to aggressively promote and implement basic healthcare systems and sanitation. There are twenty countries that have no healthcare system in place to fight major health epidemics. By hastening our globalization efforts, we will not only help these deficient states, but will help countries all over the world in controlling the spread of diseases. The Ebola epidemic has served as a painful reminder of why it is imperative that the world continue to improve global healthcare.

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