Global Health vs. Chronic Disease

For those of us who were in high school in the late 90s and early millennium, we all remember the comedy, Miss Congeniality. Remember how every pageant contestant mentioned “World Peace” as their answer?

Well, I feel like there’s been a lot of public health news that is similar to the sentiment of “world peace.” Granted, don’t get me wrong, some of the public health topics that have been arising are quite important.

With topics last year centered around Ebola, and now the highly talked about Zika virus, there is no doubt that policy, logistics, research, screenings, and awareness is needed. In fact, a great deal of the 2017 FY budget proposed by President Obama, does put funds into areas such as antibiotic resistance, drug overdose, food safety, and global health security.

Again, it is of great importance that these areas are addressed.

HOWEVER, $194 were cut from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention budget which means, cuts have be done somewhere. Unfortunately these cuts have also led to funding cuts on another area, that I find to be equally important — chronic disease management and prevention.

This is unfortunate because the rates of chronic disease in the US is incredibly high. If you look at the article (link below), the CDC released some vital statistics that review mortality rates from 2014 and 2015. While it’s no surprise that heart disease is still a leading cause of death within the US, what’s appalling is that heart disease, stroke, diabetes rates are ALL on the rise. In fact, what’s even more concerning, is the rates of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are on the rise as well.

So the question that I have is — should more budget go into our health in the US, or should it go to important policy work relating to antibiotic resistance and global security. I cannot stress that these topics are of great importance and concern. However, the American people are dying of chronic conditions, many which are preventable, and in turn can improve one’s overall health. Is this not important?

This isn’t just for those who are adults, I’m talking about kids as well. The rate of pre-diabetes amongst children have risen. Obesity rates amongst kids have also increased dramatically. Does this become a secondary topic compared to these other important topics that politicians are discussing these days?

World peace was and still is an important topic in foreign policy. Otherwise, large nonprofits and many entities would not continue to work towards this. The same goes for public health policy that discusses areas of large scale such as global health security, food safety, and antibiotic resistance.

Yet, bigger issues that deserve higher concentration, focus, and funding must be addressed. After all, if something is preventable, despite the requirement of more difficult uphill change, would you not want this? Would you want to decrease mortality caused by preventable health conditions?

Resources:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/859486a

FY 2017 Budget Proposal: http://www.hrsa.gov/about/budget/index.html

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