Do we need another reason to combat disease in the developing world?

Places that harbour a lot of parasites and pathogens not only suffer the debilitating effects of disease on their workforces, but also have their human capital eroded, child by child, from birth. Economist

A starving Sudanese child being stalked by a vulture won Kevin Carter the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography.

This research featured in this weeks economist and emanating from Christopher Eppig at the University of New Mexico reveals the findings that infectious diseases cause reduced human intelligence and the obvious corollary that the control of these diseases is crucial to a country’s development. We knew vaccination, clean water and proper sewerage transformed public health, what we hadn’t appreciated is their impact on cognition and intellect. This may be seen as another reason to increase health interventions in the developing world. It is. But did we really need another reason to confront the daily indictment of 28,000 child deaths? (I don’t want to ignore the progress that has been made since 1990 when the figure was 40,000, but infant mortality and life expectancy in the third world are still tragically high).


About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social pioneer, writer, campaigner and commentator. Formerly a clinical optometrist specialising in diabetes and visual impairment, she is the founder and Director of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal and Social. 2020health has through research, events and campaigning influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. In 2014, 2020health were founding partners of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Since 2016, 2020health has increasingly focused on digital health and public health in the community. Julia is a Fellow of the RSA and now also a part-time PhD student at the UCL Interaction Centre, studying the use of digital technology for stress management in the workplace. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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One Response to Do we need another reason to combat disease in the developing world?

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