Gates Foundation at the CEO Council

Thoughts on the dicussion of CDC Director Thomas Frieden and Susan Desmond-Hellman from the Gates Foundation at the CEO Council

Quote 1

WSJ- " Dr. FRIEDEN: Bill Gates has said there are really only two things that could kill 10 million people around the world. Nuclear war and a biological event, either intentional or natural. It has happened beforeóin 1918 and 1919, 50 million to 100 million people were killed. Even the 1957 influenza pandemic, which most people havenít heard of, cost 3% of the worldís gross domestic product. Even SARS, a relatively small outbreak, cost about $30 billion."

Quote 2

"DR. FRIEDEN: Tobacco use continues to kill millions of people globallyóin fact, more than infectious diseases combined. And it can be stopped. If you look at countries and communities that have taken tobacco prevention seriously, theyíve been able to drastically reduce tobacco use."

I encourgage all of people to check on this interview. Most of the article focuses on how prepared the world is for a global disease like Zika and the effects.

I highlighted these two quotes for different reasons, but when viewed in context with one another begin to paint a picture of health care and disease prevention.

The first quotes puts into context how devasting an infectious disease is. Most people understand that a nuclear disaster or war would wipe millions from the planet; however few of us can conceptualize how calamitous a powerful disease would be if not prepared.

The second quote contains an important message. While a global outbreak is calamatious, we are forgetting about the most important danger in our life: smoking. Smoking fits in the behavior cateogry of diseases. It is the slow killer that we all know about. But there is a silver lining because if we can change behaviors, we can limit health care costs and extend lives.