Margaret Chan Belatedly Recognizes the Value of Health Infrastructures in Preventing Epidemics

2 Jan

Don't Get Stuck With HIV

According to an article in the UN’s IRIN News “West Africa’s Ebola epidemic has cruelly exposed the weaknesses of health systems in the countries where it struck”. The director of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan, is further quoted as saying that “what they lacked was a robust public health infrastructure to deal with the unexpected”.

This is a very odd way of looking at the situation. Firstly, almost every country in Africa lacks a robust public health infrastructure; secondly, most of them have lacked such an infrastructure for many decades, as a cursory review of relevant literature, going back at least to the 1940s, will reveal.

Tens of millions of people suffer from numerous avoidable health problems, such as malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, parasitic conditions, infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases and more; epidemics and outbreaks are so common that most of them don’t even hit the headlines, least of all…

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