Omaha Public Radio News
8:37 am
Mon March 14, 2011

Public health expert discusses "medicalized" system

Omaha, NE – An expert on global public health says the system has been "medicalized" over the past decade.

Laurie Garrett spoke recently as part of the E.N. Thompson forum on world issues. She's a Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations. She says the focus of global public health used to be preventing disease.

Now, though, Garrett says it's a system focused on the business of managing disease. "We turned it in to medical care. And all of a sudden we discovered two giant obstacles, a lack of health care workers in these countries because of decades of under-support for our health systems, and the lack of such basic infrastructure as roads to get people to the clinics."

Garrett says global public health programs would be in jeopardy if U.S. funding were to cease. She says the U.S. provides 58 percent of all international funds for those programs. President Obama's fiscal year 2012 budget proposal calls for nine-point-eight billion dollars in funding for family planning, maternal and child health initiatives.

You can hear the complete E.N. Thompson forum with Laurie Garrett April 11th at noon on KIOS.