Monday, November 10, 2008

Travels and thoughts for coming winter: Wherefore PUBLIC health?

The last few months I have been at meetings on top of meetings: Vermont WIC; U of VM; VELB; ABM/EURO Annual Symposium; ABM/EURO 'What every physician needs to know' meeting; WABA Breastfeeding 6-24+; Core Partners WABA, representing ABM as the physician's arm of WABA; WABA Steering Committee; ABM/International 'What every physician needs to know' meeting; ABM/I Board meeting; ABM/I Annual meeting; APHA Intersectional Council; APHA IH Section meetings, and; APHA.

One might ask - why?

I guess, at this stage of life and career, I see a vital need for demand creation for public support for public health.

Public health has become a buzz word for pushing products. Especially where some private sector sees a potential for profit. There certainly is a role for these products: immunizations, vitamins, bed nets, and essential drugs, such as antibiotics and HIV tx. These are public/private efforts because the private commercial sector has a vested interest. AND it is great when these interests collide.

Truly, public health must receive public funding. They "get" this in many countries outside of the US, where breastfeeding is fully supported, Code is law, and maternity leave is paid and of sufficient duration. Funny, but these same countries have much lower infant and maternal mortality than we have....

So what do to? I came home to the US just in time to vote and see my vote counted here in North Carolina. We have sweeping POTENTIAL for change in how our government views the public.

Now is the time to press for recognition of preventive health action with public funding....stay tuned!!

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