What we’re reading: What happens when policy makers recognize that healthcare is a right

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A Marshall Plan for global health – “Absent the U.S. leadership to date that has spurred significant burden sharing, the threat of infectious diseases will only grow and further weigh down health systems and economies,” this piece in the National Interest predicts. At a pivotal moment in that leadership, this piece presents reasons that U.S. global health leadership, that go well beyond altruism, to encompass national security, domestic health, and economic interests.

Are Ebola response investments making an impact? The 2014 to 2016 Ebola crisis in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea took more than 11,000 lives, but left disease surveillance systems, improved laboratories, and emergency operations centers that were lacking before the international impacts of the outbreak demonstrated that strengthening capacities in West Africa was vital to global public health. The author, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist recounts the work he did in Sierra Leone at the peak of the epidemic, and notes that strengthened public health systems everywhere are key to our national security.

Africa’s health challenge is a human rights issue – Graça Machel, former Mozambique first lady and widow of Nelson Mandela argues powerfully, and also pragmatically for recognition across Africa that health is a human right, including with the fact that Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Africa has never charged user fees for public health services and has a child mortality rate nearly half of that in Nigeria — the wealthiest country in Africa.

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