Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

AIDS isn't exceptional.

Dear Editor,

The concerns regarding ‘exceptional response to AIDS” are valid -- even if their negative specifics aren’t. Increased funding and attention to counter the global HIV/AIDS threat has contributed overall to other health opportunities. But progressive advocates for other global health needs continue to waste time and efforts competing for a limited supply of insufficient Government crumbs. Three factors must be fully recognized and responded to before this persistent problem evolves into a catastrophic global health event.

First, a new source of funding adequate to the challenge must be found and seriously advocated for. A Tobin tax, a carbon tax, a global health security tax...something that will provide sufficient resources for a truly universal global health infrastructure. One that includes clean water, sanitation, nutrition and basic education along with a global network of primary health facilities adequately furnished and supplied and with adequately trained staff.

Second, basic health needs must be pushed within the context of national security -- instead of just meeting humanitarian needs. Pulling heart strings alone will never open sufficient purse strings that are now urgently needed. It took 4 dollar a gallon gasoline to get Congress serious about weaning our nation from oil. We can’t wait for the equivalent infectious disease ‘wakeup call’ for serious congressional and presidential leadership.

Last, only by pulling together in support of a truly comprehensive approach to meeting global human health needs (such as H. Res 1078 calling for a new Global Marshall Plan) will we achieve our progressive vision of health and a truly civilized and secure world.

As Nobel Laureate Dr. Joshua Lederberg once said “Pathogens change. Why can’t we”.

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