Dreams of silver bullets

My friend Atanu Dey at Deeshaa.org often speaks of the fallacy of implementing technological solutions to overcome fundamentally non-technological problems. While Atanu usually invokes this paradigm in reference to India’s primary education challenge, I believe the same concept is relevant to public health efforts. Many public health problems today are non-technological, i.e. we have effective tools for the prevention and treatment of many diseases. This is not to say improved tools won’t help – the smart use of technology helps us solve problems, but rather the fundamental problem is not the lack of effective interventions. In fact, it is usually the deficit of financial/technical resources, delivery mechanisms, and good governance. Without these ingredients sustainable public health gains, including malaria control, will remain elusive.

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