Sunday, May 03, 2009

Nobel Prize for Public Health?

An excellent piece from Nicholas Kristof in the NYT discussing how the recent Swine Flu scare reinforces a flawed medical system.
Think of the 47 million Americans who lack insurance. They are less likely to receive flu vaccines (which might or might not help), less likely to receive prompt care when they get sick, and less able financially to stay home from work — and thus they are more likely both to die and to spread the virus inadvertently.

The larger problem is that we over-invest in clinical care like CAT scans and underinvest in public health. There should be a Nobel Prize for Public Health, so that we might get more great minds wrestling with nonmedical pieces of the health puzzle, like industrial hog farms that can serve as breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria, from swine flu to MRSA.

“If a severe pandemic materializes,” Dr. Redlener said, “all of society could pay a heavy price for decades of failing to create a rational system of health care that works for all of us.”
Read the entire piece here.

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