Public health funding today keeps the doctor away
By William A. Haseltine  |  Oct 04, 2022
Public health funding today keeps the doctor away
Image courtesy of and under license from Shutterstock.com
America’s chronic underinvestment in public health and disease prevention left it poorly prepared for the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as the pandemic begins to wane, such mistakes are being repeated as public health spending is being cut back. A more proactive approach is needed to improve Americans’ health, increase the country’s readiness for the next pandemic, and free up funds to be spent on other priorities.

FAIRFIELD, CONNECTICUT – With COVID-19 still an ever-present threat and monkeypox cases rising alongside existing chronic epidemics, building strong, responsive public health systems has never been more important. In addition to improving data management (mentioned in a previous commentary), the world also needs sustained investment and training in the public health workforce.

Public health has always suffered from chronic underfunding, partly because the social and economic benefits of investing in preventive care are difficult to quantify or invisible to the untrained eye. Successes in containing outbreaks of disease or reducing mortality rates often go unnoticed. Unfortunately, it often takes a massive failure of prevention to get policymakers and the public to recognize the need for greater preparedness.

Americans spend significantly more on medical costs than do people in other similarly wealthy countries, yet still have lower life expectancies, higher rates of chronic disease and maternal mortality, and 

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