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Opinion: U.S. Global Health Strategy; Fighting Drought

U.S. Global Health Strategy Should ‘Encompass Holistic Solutions’

As the U.S. “works on a comprehensive global health strategy,” we need to “expand our thinking to encompass holistic solutions that go into improving the health of the world’s poor,” Bill Frist, former U.S. Senate Majority leader and current member of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) Board of Directors, writes in a Boston Globe opinion piece. “Global health must deliver more than a pill to the poor to relieve their immediate pain; it must deliver a system-wide program of rehabilitation to increase the productivity and prosperity of their communities,” according to Frist. He writes that this would require a “multi-dimensional approach” that entails “moving beyond the focus on high-profile diseases to also invest in overlooked, but treatable, diseases.”

Though it is “not easy” to expand the discussion on global health – “from combating neglected diseases, to investing in health skills, systems, and infrastructure, to advocating pro-health policies,” a “systemic approach to global health, grounded in good policies, provides the best medicine for delivering tangible and sustainable results that will improve the quality of life for the world’s poor,” he concludes (Frist, 8/13).

Agricultural Technologies Can Alleviate Drought Concerns

“News that India may suffer a weaker-than-normal monsoon this year is raising concerns about crop yields and food supply,” and “[b]etter crop plants that use water more efficiently could be a big part of the solution—if only bureaucrats and activists would get out of the way,” Henry Miller, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. According to Miller, research and development are being “hampered by resistance from activists and discouraged by governmental overregulation” in India and around the world. In addition, some U.N. conventions “fly in the face of the quarter-century-old scientific consensus that modern genetic modification is essentially an extension or refinement of conventional (but less precise and less predictable) ways of modifying crops to create or enhance desirable characteristics,” he writes.

Water “[s]carity hinders economic development; excessive water extraction lowers ground levels and exacerbates rising sea levels; and poor water quality makes populations vulnerable to water-related diseases, such as cholera, dysentery, viral hepatitis A and typhoid,” Miller notes. Although some of the planet’s “biggest drought fears may be in India today,” no one will be “immune to water worries in the future. It’s essential that bureaucrats and activists stop blocking agricultural technologies that can give us more crop for the drop,” he concludes (Miller, 8/12).