“The connections between disease and poverty — and between health and economic development — are clear and they are compelling. I just wish they were better recognized and made central to every conversation about economic growth and investment.”
That was the main message Seed co-founder and CEO Vanessa Kerry brought home from the World Economic Forum last month and shared in an article published on the Huffington Post.
In a high-level panel discussing “Africa’s Next Challenge,” Kerry noted, “nobody addressed what is arguably the single biggest challenge facing African countries and their economies: the crushing burden of disease that shortens lives, stunts education, employment, and productivity, impoverishes families and communities, and hamstrings economic growth.”
In her article, Kerry points out that nearly one out of 10 African children dies before reaching her fifth birthday, compared to roughly one in 140 in the US.
“The sad truth is that the overwhelming majority of these deaths are caused by wholly preventable and treatable diseases,” she continues. “And they are exacerbated by stark disparities in access to quality health care and the skilled health providers who deliver it.”
In her article and through her work with Seed, Kerry is calling for and leading action to overcome the critical shortage of health providers and put an end to the “wholly preventable” disease and death that inflict immeasurable suffering on families and immense damage on national economies.