The Wall Street Journal reports that Bill Gates may now see that we need to invest in health systems, not simply fight individual diseases:
That question goes to the heart of one of the most controversial debates in global health: Is humanity better served by waging wars on individual diseases, like polio? Or is it better to pursue a broader set of health goals simultaneously—improving hygiene, expanding immunizations, providing clean drinking water—that don’t eliminate any one disease, but might improve the overall health of people in developing countries?
The new plan integrates both approaches. It’s an acknowledgment, bred by last summer’s outbreak, that disease-specific wars can succeed only if they also strengthen the overall health system in poor countries.
We already knew that, right? The big philanthropic foundations pride themselves on trying new approaches, and not being constrained by conventional thinking. Great. But it is a pity when they have to reinvent the wheel themselves.