Public health lost in foreign policy debate fog

I’m the newest member of the ACTION Secretariat team, arriving in Washington D.C. via growing up in Canada, working in Southern Africa, and – most recently – studying in the United Kingdom.

While I don’t miss the rain in the UK, I did enjoy the attention paid by some British journalists to global health issues.  Check out Sarah Boseley’s global health blog on The Guardian’s site for instance! But as a public health and foreign policy wonk, it’s interesting to now be in America’s capital – especially in the run-up to presidential elections.

I watched Monday’s presidential debate on foreign policy with great interest, but was disheartened to watch the candidates pass up an opportunity to share solutions to our generation’s greatest challenges.

There was no talk of managing climate change, improving global food security, or stemming the spread of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS.

In fact, there was absolutely no discussion of global public health, despite its domestic implications.

As ACTION director Kolleen Bouchane pointed out in her Huffington Post blog, an epidemic of completely drug-resistant tuberculosis is creeping towards us – and the airborne disease doesn’t follow customs regulations at border crossings.

Affected communities – whether in India, Africa, or America – know this. Their voices are out there, but obviously are not being heard by policy makers.

As a global partnership of advocacy organizations working to influence policy and mobilize resources to fight diseases of poverty and improve equitable access to health services, ACTION is working to amplify these voices.

Join us in pushing global public health towards the center of policy, media, and public conversations. Follow us on Twitter @Action_Tweets, join our Facebook group, and sign up for our re-vamped mailing list – just as a start!