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 is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. 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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1 Response to Do we need another reason to combat disease in the developing world?

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