Sometimes I hate advocates. Anything which smacks of “my disease is more important than yours” is a great way for me to stop listening. Nicholas Kristoff’s blog post on pneumonia importantly highlights the large disease burden and the relatively scant public attention. However, the solution is not to have a world pneumonia day. Nor do we need to justify schistosomiasis control with tenuous evidence on its association with HIV prevalence. I understand what Hotez et al. are trying to accomplish since the latter is a hot issue, but I wonder whether we will be undermined by such messaging in the long run. As a friend of mine said, “Treat schisto to treat schisto. Anything else is icing on the cake.”
We need to move beyond unilateral thinking and organize around broader public health platforms. Unfortunately, this is not as tangible as a single topic, and it doesn’t make a good bumper sticker.
How do we do it?