13 October 2009

Health Care and Human Rights

Prof Bill Easterly has written an article for the Financial Times that discusses the harm that can be done by viewing health care as a human rights issue.  He gives the example of the disproportionate money devoted to AIDS in Africa.  While a major issue, it is only one of the many diseases that kill millions on the continent.  However, it gets all the attention and all the money.  While AIDS rates have fallen and treatment has improved, deaths caused by diarrhea and malaria stagnate. 

The connection to the growth in universal health care in the US is not entirely direct, but it does highlight how coordinated efforts can be harmful.  Done incorrectly, money can be directed towards grander scale problems that only affect a minority while solvable issues are marginalized.