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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Does Suing Corporations Improve Healthycare?

People are talking about our need to improve our approach to non-communicable diseases (including chronic disease).  The main suggestion is that we improve health overall rather than deal only with sickness.  

One way this can be done is through a primary care system that is accessible to everyone, and through a strong public health system that is accountable to citizens, not to corporations.  I found a great letter that sums up my feelings:


"Do we really want to continue to live in a world where the oversupply and marketing of tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy processed foods, and soft drinks is tolerated simply to allow continuing profits for the shareholders of the transnational corporations producing and distributing them, while the taxpayer funds the health services and pharmaceutical response to the ensuing disease and injury?"
Letter from Sally Casswell of the School of Public Health at Massey University in Auckland.



That is a very strong statement that most of us can agree with. In fact the Province of Ontario is in the process of suing tobacco companies to recover some of the money we have had to spend to treat tobacco related health problems. Nine out of 10 provinces in Canada are suing so far.



Ideally the aim of the health care system should be to manage health, not sickness. This way the burden which  chronic disease adds to an individual's life could be lessened by identifying problems early and putting them into remission fast. Identifying and promoting lifestyle changes that could help to improve health habits and lessen the incidence of chronic illness is also a good goal.

This activity needs to go hand in hand with improved health literacy. It is possible that changing some of the language and labels in medicine can make instructions clearer. I would argue strongly that we need better education about health among the youngest schoolchildren which would continue formally until they leave school.


As Dr. Brian Goldman said at his address at the National Health Leadership Conference: "Health and patient engagement needs to be a core subject. It needs to start as early as preschool." via @ChristinaClarke #NHLC




Leonard Kish wrote a very informative blog post called "Emerging Heroes in the Health Attention War" and promises more to come about the "war to fight chronic disease before it starts".  I was most interested in the segment titled Changing Culture to Less is More about the work of Dr Victor Montori.

Here's a link to an article about childhood obesity called  "WHO urges tougher food marketing rules to curb childhood obesity"


Tackling sickness at its source: An interview with TED book author Rishi Manchanda.  Prevent illness at its source


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