President Trump and Global Health – what are the issues?

President Trump and Global Health – what are the issues?


So I woke up this morning to discover Donald Trump has won the election. What does this mean for global health? Stay tuned and find out. Welcome back to this global health Youtube channel. My name is Greg Martin. Now we’re gonna talk about things like the economy, we’re gonna talk about things like security, Not just security in terms of conflict but also things like the threats associated with climate change. We’re gonna talk about health security and we’re going to talk about the threats of catastrophic pandemics, and importantly, we’re also going to look at the tremendous opportunity that exists for America to continue to be a tremendous force for good in the world. This is overwhelmingly in the United States’s best interest, to ensure that the world is a stable, safe, prosperous, and healthy place. If you want to protect yourself from the effects of conflict all over the world if you want to protect yourself from the threats of catastrophic pandemics, if you want to protect yourself from the threats of biological weapons and the impact of climate change, if you want to protect yourself from the impact of, economic shocks across the globe, the best thing you can do is engage with the world, work with the world and be part of a global community. Let’s start by taking a look at issues like security. I know that there is a lot of conflict in the world and I don’t for one second want to diminish or take away from what the terrible things that are happening in the middle east and in other conflicts around the world and I don’t want to distract us from our concern for those conflicts and the people that are victims there within. However, it is overwhelmingly the case that at this point in history for the last half century we’ve lived in an era of unprecedented peace compared with the level of conflict that the world has been in from 1945 going backwards hundreds of years. Very few people alive today have any recollection of what it would be like to go through a global conflict like World War I and World War II, but we dare not take this era of peace for granted. It’s fragile, it needs to be protected. With an increasing global population, with pressure on limited resources like fresh water, with increasing global discontent all over the world, with radicalism and with increased capabilities in the area of nuclear weapons and biological weapons in both state and non-state actors, we need to be extremely cautious going forward and that is why it’s important for the United States to remain part of NATO, to remain engaged with the United Nations, to continue with non-proliferation treaties, we have to take this seriously if we’re gonna survive the next century. Now, I know that sounds a little melodramatic, me talking about surviving the next century but it’s actually true. Humanity really does have the capacity and the capability to end itself entirely in the next century, especially in the era of biological weapons. Now let’s talk about health security. The Spanish flu in 1918 killed 15 million people and that was on a planet that only had 2 billion people on it, the same virus today – and by the way this could really happen because of increased population, density and global travel – that same virus would kill about half a billion people – 500 million people dead – Now, you cannot protect yourself from global catastrophic pandemics with domestic health policy. The only way to do it is to engage with the global community, to work with and invest in the World Health Organization, to engage the international health regulations, these are things that have been put in place and the global community is working within these frameworks to protect themselves and each other. The only way to do this is together. Now, over the last few decades, or certainly within my lifetime, there’s been a number of what we call “novel zoonotic outbreaks” these are microbes that jump from animals to humans, we’ve never seen them before, we don’t see them coming, things like HIV, the ebola virus, MERS-CoV, SARS, and the point of these “novel zoonotic outbreaks” is just that they’re novel, we don’t know what to expect next So our worst case scenario is that you’ve got a lethal virus that’s airborne and has a short latency period, in other words the person becomes infectious, they start spreading the virus very early on. However, it’s got a long incubation period, in other words they don’t feel sick for a long time so there’s a long period of time during which they’re healthy, walking around, taking flights, moving about but still infecting other people. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a epidemiologist for that matter to figure out that a virus like that could quite easily end humanity. This is arguably the most important existential threat facing humanity today and so, Dear President Trump: We, the rest of the world are asking you to stay focused on the big picture, a global pandemic is gonna kill people on both sides of the wall. Now let’s talk about climate change, and yes I am gonna end this section with some sort of melodramatic statement about how this could end all of humanity in its entire deep, because it really really could. Firstly, I don’t even want to talk about whether climate change is real or not. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that climate change is real and that it is caused by human activity. The few detractors are almost invariably been financed by private entities that have the self-interested echo-chamber that they live within. But the real threat when it comes to climate change is when it runs away from us, when it’s no longer a function of human activity but we’ve actually taken it so far that, because the permafrost has melted there is now methane getting into the atmosphere that we cannot control, and that’s a serious greenhouse gas. The polar ice caps have melted which actually ordinarily reflects a lot of sunlight and so suddenly this isn’t a human thing anymore, this is a planet that’s out of control. Now in the short term this will translate into severe weather events, it’ll translate into shortages of food and fresh water, and it’ll cause mass migration and conflict in a way that we’ve never seen before. And in a medium term, and you’ll notice that I’m not talking about the long term because in this scenario there is no long term, this could make planet earth uninhabitable to human beings, and so Dear President Trump we, the rest of the world, we need you and we need the United States to stay focused on addressing the causes of climate change and this affects everyone, it affects us and it affects you! And finally, let’s talk about the economy and this time I’m not going to talk about the end of the world, but perhaps we can talk about the end of the world as we know it. So, what does this got to do with health? Well… global recession definitely translates into increased human suffering and human death, disease and poverty are inextricably linked. And if the recent economic crisis has told us anything it is that the global economy is an interdependent, inter-tangled, intertwined thing. All credible economists, including republican and democratic economists will tell you that an isolationist economic policy will hurt the global economy and it’ll hurt the American economy, because what will happen is this: Isolationist trade policies will lead to retaliatory sanctions and these are allowed for, within the multilateral trade agreements of the World Trade Organization and what will quite quickly happen is you’ll get a tit for tat downward spiral of domestic protectionism, it’s a bad idea and everybody gets hurt, so Dear President Trump, as a fellow believer in free trade, please tell me that you understand that an isolationist protectionist economic policy is the opposite of capitalism, it will hurt the Americans, it’ll hurt the rest of the world, it’s not good for you, it’s not good for us, don’t do it! Let’s talk about the exciting opportunities that exist for the US to continue to be a global leader, to continue to make unbelievably generous contributions to the World Health Organization, to other institutions that really help protect and add value to the global health community. The opportunity for the US to lead the world in terms of Clean Energy Technology, the opportunity for the US to be a moral and thought leader promoting human rights, making the world a safer, fairer, healthier place for everybody. We know that conflicts, that pandemics, that climate catastrophes can be avoided. We know these because we’ve already started to see it happen. Over the last fifty years we’ve seen massive strives in the right direction, and that is in no small part because of the massive contribution that the US has made to this process and it’s not time to take your foot off the pedal, not now, not when there’s so much at stake, So Dear President Trump we’re gonna end this on a good note: There are untold possibilities and opportunities to make the world a better place at this time in history. There’s opportunities to protect ourselves and to protect each other from these kinds of catastrophes. We need you to work with us, the rest of the world, to fight poverty, to combat diseases, to make the world a better place, a safer place, a healthier place for everyone to live in. Thanks for listening, I appreciate it. My name is Greg Martin , and if you haven’t subscribed to this Youtube channel before do so now! Hope you enjoyed this! Take care!

Daniel Yohans

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