Update on Making Global Health Local: Cutting community services

I wrote earlier about an initiative called “Global to Local” — a project that seeks to use global health strategies locally.

The idea is that we can improve the health of our own poor by making use of approaches developed in poor countries.

I also noted that this project, largely funded by a 5-year $1 million grant from Swedish Medical Center, comes even as we are cutting $30 million out of Seattle’s public health budget by eliminating maternity care services for the poor. Statewide, nearly $300 million is to be cut from the state’s social services budget.

Seattle writer Sally James pointed out more penny-wise-pound-foolishness. Sally flagged this op-ed written about the city looking to save money by cutting staff at libraries that serve the poor:

Cutting Libraries Cuts the Heart Out of the Communities the Need Them Most

The writer Justin Sundberg speaks of a Somali family he knows that has made extensive use of librarian help in boosting their kids educational abilities. Sundberg talks about the library crammed with young people, many seeking help and guidance from librarians.

He quotes an Eritrean youth: “Having the library without a librarian is like eating cereal without milk.”

As Sally writes:

“Global research has shown that educating mothers is one of the most effective ways to keep their children healthy. Meanwhile, it seems the G2L initiative with backing from Swedish medical center, might need to rescue the library. It would be the research-based, thinking globally, smart move.”

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.