Monday, May 07, 2007

Debate: Global Public Health

The Challenge of Global Health by Laurie Garrett, Foriegn Affairs, January/February 2007
Thanks to a recent extraordinary rise in public and private giving, today more money is being directed toward the world's poor and sick than ever before. But unless these efforts start tackling public health in general instead of narrow, disease-specific problems -- and unless the brain drain from the developing world can be stopped -- poor countries could be pushed even further into trouble, in yet another tale of well-intended foreign meddling gone awry...

Nancy Aossey, International Medical Corps
To the Editor:
As head of an organization that has struggled for over two decades with the challenges Laurie Garrett raises ("The Challenge of Global Health," January/ February 2007), I know that making a lasting impact on the health of the world's poor is fraught with difficulties. No issue is more pressing than the work-force crisis in local health sectors, because it ultimately erodes the very same local structures that are essential for sustainable progress....

Joe Amon, HIV/AIDS Program, Human Rights Watch
To the Editor:
Laurie Garrett makes it painfully clear how shortsighted and dysfunctional our response to the global health crisis has been to date.
Garrett correctly points out that it will take more than money to make an impact on global public health, and she correctly states that unless we start tackling public health in general instead of narrow, disease-specific problems, we may end up worse off. But while her diagnosis is on target, her prescription misses the mark, because she misses the most basic factors underlying not only successful health infrastructures but also successful prevention programs and a successful health industry: good governance and a respect for human rights...

Susan L. Erikson, Global Health Affairs, University of Denver
To the Editor:
I have been following with great interest Foreign Affairs' discussion about Laurie Garrett's article on global health. But I am struck by the irony that a distinguished journal of foreign relations has completely missed such an important point: today's global health lacuna is political. We simply do not have people who are knowledgeable and experienced enough in foreign policy engaging in the politics of global health...

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