When the G20 leaders meet in Pittsburgh next week, they are apparently not focusing on global health they way they should. But they are dealing with many issues that are impacted by, and which impact, global health — issues like the global economic crisis, food security and climate change. “Health security supports food security and environmental security,” writes Jeffrey L. Sturchio, the GHC CEO and president in an article in the official G20 magazine which eloquently highlights the links between global health and some of the key items on the G20 agenda.
“Whether considering cholera epidemics in Zimbabwe or Bangladesh, malaria in East Africa, the European heat wave of 2003 or the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, one can see that climate change has direct, predictable and measurable impacts on health. Heat waves, floods and rising sea levels, for example, have consequences for the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria. Scarcity of clean water can lead to outbreaks of diarrhoeal disease and trachoma. And the vulnerability of the agricultural sector to extreme weather leads to food insecurity and malnutrition that exacerbate the problems of ill health already affecting many developing countries and small island nations.”
Global health has solutions available to address man of these aspects of climate change and food insecurity. For example, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition has developed a program of food fortification through micronutrients that is reaching millions of the poor, with important consequences for their health and their ability to work and be economically productive.
Read Dr. Sturchio’s article: http://www.globalhealth.org/images/pdf/sturchio_g20_article.pdf