For more than two millennia, physicians have been healing patients--pledging to protect and cure under the terms set forth by the oath Hippocrates crafted nearly 500 years before Christ.
Today, doctors have at their disposal methods of diagnosis and treatment unparalleled in the history of mankind. We can cure blindness, scan the brain and operate on a beating heart. And yet, there has never been such disparity between the care that is possible and the care that most people on earth receive. How our medicine is distributed--the treatment and personnel necessary to deliver it--is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. The challenges are scientific, political, social, religious and economic--after all, healthy people are happier and more productive, and the benchmark of a successful society.
To explore these issues, we first turned to a panel of specialists, asking them to respond to our Big Question--"What is the most pressing global health crisis, and how can it be solved?" We then took a close look at tuberculosis in "Anatomy of a Pandemic." Once thought to be almost eradicated, today TB is sweeping the planet; our infographic explains why. For two personal messages, we asked Qanta Ahmed, an Islamic physician who has practiced everywhere from Saudi Arabia to London to New York's suburbs, to examine the challenge of the Muslim faith and the rise of extremism in medicine. John M. Barry, award winning author and influenza expert, chronicles the impact of pandemics and the failure of our last response to the flu. In our Map Room, we document how Dhaka, one of the world's most crowded and disease-ridden cities, copes with its sick and ailing.
To paint a broad portrait of health care around the globe, we identified three nations that deliver health care at dramatically different per capita expenditures each year--India with less than $30, Brazil at $300 and France at $3,000. Sandhya Srinivasan in Mumbai, Jeb Blount in Rio de Janeiro and Hala Kodmani in Paris ponder the state of medicine in these...