Laurie Garrett informs on global health issues

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Laurie Garrett speaks in BYU Forum Address Nov.28. (Hannah Gasinski)

Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health and Council on Foreign Relations, spoke in a forum address Nov. 28. Garrett spoke about the rise and decline of globalized healthcare and the issues surrounding global health.

Garrett said life expectancy has more than doubled since the year 1800. She said the life expectancy in 1800 was approximately 32, and 70 by the year 2012. She said globalization of vaccines is a leading cause of increased life expectancy and enhanced global health.

Garrett said the eradication of smallpox by vaccination in the 20th century was pivotal in saving millions of lives.

“In the 20th century, smallpox killed more people than all the wars of the century combined,” Garrett said.

Garrett said child mortality has decreased due to vaccinations for many illnesses such as diphtheria, measles, and yellow fever.

“Today almost all babies born thrive and go on to adulthood,”  Garrett said.

Garrett also mentioned HIV/AIDs is prevalent in poor and developing countries. She said treatment for HIV and AIDs is coming slowly to these countries.

Garrett added she is hopeful because of a decrease in death worldwide due to growth of globalized pharmaceutical technology. However, despite the profound benefits of globalization, she said the world is moving or retreating from globalization. Garrett said financial and literal walls between countries are keeping the world from thriving together.

Garrett added that monetary assistance for global health may be in jeopardy because 46.7% of monetary assistance comes from the U.S., especially from The Gates Foundation and the government. She said if government figures stop funding for global health, everyone in the world may be at risk for health issues in the future.

She said every issue in world health is a supranational issue, meaning world health is everyone’s issue. Garrett mentioned medical outbreaks such as the SARS, Zika, Ebola, Cholera, and yellow fever outbreaks as examples of supranational issues.

According to Garrett, Brazil donated vaccinations for yellow fever to Congo when Congo had no replenishment of supplies. Later, Garret said, Brazil was in a state of emergency when it had an outbreak of yellow fever.

Garrett said antibiotics are squandered because the U.S. supply of antibiotics is largely used for fattening livestock. Diseases like meleda disease, or MDM, emerge from using antibiotics in this way.

Garrett added that human abuse of the planet is also causing health issues across the globe.

“What we need now, and what I need your generation to come up with, is globalization 2.0,” Garrett said.

Garrett said the key to success of the coming generations is solving global issues globally and not as nations or nation-states.

“Anything is possible with the proper innovation and the proper globalization,” Garrett said.

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