A kind of medical Apartheid (or How much money are we spending on this swine flu thing?)

First, take a quick peek at this Gapminder.org video for a general sense of the problem:

Now, this video is from May 2009, after the first few weeks of the initial outbreak, and it also has a focus on media representation, but with the recent worry over potential variants of the H1N1 virus rearing in the next little while, a similar issue has come up.

This time concerning the number of dollars spent on mitigating a potential health crisis.

More specifically: How, if in the face of serious health concerns, can developed countries suddenly find the will to fund major health initiatives (and in this case, for H1N1 which technically exhibits a pathology that is still more or less sorting itself out), and yet let daily health catastrophes be diverted to the sidelines (here, we’re talking about neglected diseases like malaria, and TB)

It’s not an easy question, but the central idea that most are debating is that whilst it would be irresponsible to not do anything about H1N1, why isn’t the same sense of urgency placed on diseases like Malaria, which infects upwards of 200,000 every week. Why isn’t our sense of global community strong enough to break the “not my problem” mindset.

Anyway, if this does trouble you, and if you happen to be a UBC university student, staff, faculty – there happens to be a great group that deals with things like access to drugs and neglected disease, known as Universities Allied for Essential Medicines. Worth checking out.

Also, here’s a little video (previously shown on this site) about some of the stuff they do.

Making medicines for people, not for profit: Mike Gretes from terrytalks on Vimeo.

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David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and boingboing.net. He plans on using Terry as another place to highlight the mostly science-y links he appreciates. In fact, if you liked this one, you might also like his main site generally - this can be found at popperfont.net.