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Businesses Can Provide Solutions To Improving Health Systems In Developing Nations

“Inadequate health systems have a disproportionate and crippling effect on the growth of developing nations. And yet the solution is within closer reach than many realize, says Dr. Brian Brink, chief medical officer of Anglo American,” in a piece provided by the mining company to the Guardian’s “Sustainable Business” blog. “A robust health system lies at the heart of building a country that has a healthy population, healthy society and healthy economy,” the blog writes, adding, “The irony is that the countries that need those health care systems the most are paying the heaviest price.”

“‘The true cost of disease to a developing nation lies not so much in the cost of the infrastructure or medication that they need in order to treat it, but rather in the many-fold cost of not having it — in other words, the cost of a compromised working population that is neither healthy or happy enough to keep communities functioning and the wheels of the economy turning,’ says Dr. Brink,” according to the blog, which cites Ethiopia, “where, according to a 2007 case study published by Population Action International, 80 percent of morbidity is due to preventable communicable and nutritional diseases,” as an example. “Tackling the burden of this disease by strengthening community-wide health care systems will unshackle communities, if not the population as a whole, to achieve much more,” Brink says, according to the blog, which adds, “Brink believes that achieving this ideal is within closer reach than many people realize, in that much of the skill and expertise needed to establish and support sound health systems in any given country already exist within its business environment.” The blog cites Anglo American’s partnership with the Department of Health in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province as an example (11/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.