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West Can Make More Effort To Improve Health Systems In Developing Countries

New York Times: Giant Strides in World Health, but It Could Be So Much Better
Austin Frakt, director of the Partnered Evidence-Based Policy Resource Center at the V.A. Boston Healthcare System, associate professor with Boston University’s School of Public Health, and adjunct associate professor with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and Aaron E. Carroll, professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine

“In so many domains, life is improving across the world. It doesn’t always feel that way. In surveys, Americans overwhelmingly believe that world poverty is getting worse or staying the same (it’s getting much better). And they tend to underestimate, by a wide margin, the percentages of children in the developing world who are receiving vaccines. Public health campaigns have been a big reason for major improvements, but urgent priorities remain. The biggest area of need is probably in infectious disease prevention and treatment. … Improving health care systems can be crucial. … [Peter Piot, a physician and director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,] said sustained action was needed ‘to tackle growing epidemics of obesity and diabetes.’ … [W]hat else can the West do to help? [Ashish Jha, a physician with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute,] said we could assist in funding the development of drugs and diagnostic tests for diseases threatening poorer countries to a greater extent than wealthier ones, such as tuberculosis. He said helping fund the expansion of health care workers was another worthy priority … A sense of hopelessness can sometimes weaken efforts to help the poor. The giant strides that have been made in recent years show things are far from hopeless, and point the way toward the possibility of more progress” (2/4).