Global Health Ideas

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Global Health Diplomacy: Rx for Peace

An interesting commentary piece in yesterday’s Washington Post, excerpts below:

Health diplomacy: Rx for peace
Susan J. Blumenthal/ Elise Schlissel
The Washington Times
August 26, 2007

“A survey of Americans’ political and social values reveals that belief in the effectiveness of military power as a foreign policy tool has dropped to the lowest point in the last 20 years…This diminished confidence in military intervention as a cornerstone of international relations raises an obvious question: What other tools are available to advance U.S. interests in the world? Health diplomacy is an important and underutilized instrument in our nation’s foreign-policy toolbox.”

“More than 63 percent of the people infected with HIV live in Africa; 79 percent of the chronic disease burden is in the developing world. Whether “over there” is Africa, Southeast Asia or Latin America, inhabitants of the United States for far too long have seen little reason to worry. But Americans — and the world — have much to gain from increasing our focus on global health.”

“Health diplomacy is a means of self-preservation in an increasingly interconnected global community. SARS, H5N1 avian influenza, AIDS, TB — the list goes on and on — are only a jet plane away from America’s shores. Globalization facilitates the rapid response to health problems between rich and poor nations by quick mobilization of health professionals, medicines and supplies, and deployment of information technology for surveillance of diseases and sharing health information and best practices worldwide…”

“The United States spent $571.6 billion on defense last year alone, but spends only 0.14 percent of its gross national product on global health and development, the least of any major industrialized nation…”

“For example, the tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia: A poll found after the visit of two former U.S. presidents coupled with a commitment to invest significant funds toward rebuilding communities, support for the United States rose from 36 percent to 60 percent virtually overnight in the world’s largest Muslim country, while support for Osama bin Laden dropped from 58 percent to 28 percent.” Full commentary here.

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Written by Aman

August 27, 2007 at 11:10 pm

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