With global health, “There is no them, only us”

When anthrax scares put Americans on edge last fall, public health took center stage as a national security matter, said Nils Daulaire, M.D., M.P.H., the CEO of the Global Health Council, an organization that identifies and reports on world health problems. To be sure, noted Daulaire, health issues have always mattered in some security contexts, including the work of the CIA, which uses infant mortality rates as a measure of a country’s stability.

In a talk sponsored by the School of Medicine and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in October, “Fighting Terror with Hope: Global Health in the New Reality,” Daulaire placed post-September 11 health issues in a context of globalization, security and justice. “It is fundamentally unjust that a child born in Afghanistan has a chance of dying in childhood that is 30 times greater than that of a child born in Fairfield, Conn.,” he said of statistics that predate the bombing campaign that began October 7. “Focusing on global health is an appropriate rejoinder to what happened on September 11. It is something we need to do for the good of our own security. We need it for a global sense of justice. Ultimately, we need it for our souls. When it comes to global health, there is no them, there is only us.”