Plagues and parasites have played a central role in world affairs, shaping the evolution of the modern state, the growth of cities, and the disparate fortunes of national economies. This book tells that story, but it is not about the resurgence of pestilence. It is the story of its decline. For the first time in recorded history, virus, bacteria, and other infectious diseases are not the leading cause of death or disability in any region of the world. People are living longer, and fewer mothers are giving birth to many children in the hopes that some might survive. And yet, the news is not all good. Recent reductions in infectious disease have not been accompanied by the same improvements in income, job opportunities, and governance that occurred with these changes in wealthier countries decades ago. There have also been unintended consequences. In this book, Thomas Bollyky explores the paradox in our fight against infectious disease: the world is getting healthier in ways that should make us worry.
Bollyky interweaves a grand historical narrative about the rise and fall of plagues in human societies with contemporary case studies of the consequences. Bollyky visits Dhaka—one of the most densely populated places on the planet—to show how low-cost health tools helped enable the phenomenon of poor world megacities. He visits China and Kenya to illustrate how dramatic declines in plagues have affected national economies. Bollyky traces the role of infectious disease in the migrations from Ireland before the potato famine and to Europe from Africa and elsewhere today.
Historic health achievements are remaking a world that is both worrisome and full of opportunities. Whether the peril or promise of that progress prevails, Bollyky explains, depends on what we do next.
A Council on Foreign Relations Book
Thomas J. Bollyky is the Director of the Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University.
Employing in-depth analysis of media reports and global health data, Patterson also relies on interviews and focus-group discussions to give voice to the various agents operating within African health care systems, including donor representatives, state officials, NGOs, community-based groups, health activists, and patients. Showing the variety within broader patterns, this clearly written book demonstrates that Africa's role in global health governance is dynamic and not without agency. Patterson shows how, for example, African leaders engage with international groups, attempting to maintain their own leadership while securing the aid their people need. Her findings will benefit health and development practitioners, scholars, and students of global health governance and African politics.
Following up on a high-profile 1992 report from the Institute of Medicine, Microbial Threats to Health examines the current state of knowledge and policy pertaining to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases from around the globe. It examines the spectrum of microbial threats, factors in disease emergence, and the ultimate capacity of the United States to meet the challenges posed by microbial threats to human health. From the impact of war or technology on disease emergence to the development of enhanced disease surveillance and vaccine strategies, Microbial Threats to Health contains valuable information for researchers, students, health care providers, policymakers, public health officials. and the interested public.
Increased attention on innovation is welcome—particularly when it is in service of improving the economic opportunities of the world's poorest and increasing their access to much-needed health-care products and services. The trick will be to ensure that the focus on reverse and frugal innovation goes beyond the latest buzzword and translates into real investments and results. With this goal in mind, this paper seeks to answer three practical questions regarding reverse and frugal innovation and NCDs: Are reverse and frugal innovations likely to be important for addressing the NCD challenges facing the poor in high- and low-income settings? Which pressing NCD challenges are reverse and frugal innovations best suited to help solve? What measures can donors, private companies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) take to facilitate the use of reverse and frugal innovations to solve those problems?
The answers to these questions may contribute to the ongoing efforts of donors, investors, NGOs, and governments to move frugal and reverse innovation out of the realm of promising ideas and anecdotes and into broader practice to tackle the global challenge of NCDs.
The next big human pandemic—the next disease cataclysm, perhaps on the scale of AIDS or the 1918 influenza—is likely to be caused by a new virus coming to humans from wildlife. Experts call such an event “spillover” and they warn us to brace ourselves. David Quammen has tracked this subject from the jungles of Central Africa, the rooftops of Bangladesh, and the caves of southern China to the laboratories where researchers work in space suits to study lethal viruses. He illuminates the dynamics of Ebola, SARS, bird flu, Lyme disease, and other emerging threats and tells the story of AIDS and its origins as it has never before been told. Spillover reads like a mystery tale, full of mayhem and clues and questions. When the Next Big One arrives, what will it look like? From which innocent host animal will it emerge? Will we be ready?
Addiction is a preventable, treatable disease, not a moral failing. As with other illnesses, the approaches most likely to work are based on science — not on faith, tradition, contrition, or wishful thinking. These facts are the foundation of Clean. The existing addiction treatments, including Twelve Step programs and rehabs, have helped some, but they have failed to help many more. To discover why, David Sheff spent time with scores of scientists, doctors, counselors, and addicts and their families, and explored the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine. In Clean, he reveals how addiction really works, and how we can combat it.
“A guide for those affected by addiction, but also a manifesto . . . for America as it confronts its drug problem. [Sheff] has performed a vital service by compiling sensible advice on a subject for which sensible advice is in short supply.” — New York Times Book Review
“As a journalist, father, and clear-eyed chronicler of addiction, David Sheff is without peer.” — Sanjay Gupta, M.D., chief medical correspondent, CNN