A couple of days ago I got onto the topic of the lack of government funding in medical research.
It's amazing how blogging about something can breathe life into thoughts.
Yesterday I woke up in the morning with the realisation that I could help make a difference to this problem, hence this blog has just taken on a new direction and will for the moment concentrate on this issue.
I confess that I don't know very much yet, so this blog will initially follow my research on the subject.
Here's from where I am starting:
- First of all, I should state that I do not have a medical or scientific background, but I am married to a doctor and my father was a scientist, which has probably had some influence on me. Neither am I directly, or indirectly, currently effected by any medical condition that might have motivated me to campaign about this issue. However, statistics tell me that this issue is, unfortunately, likely to be a personal issue at some stage of my life.
- My general knowledge has picked up bits of information that tells me medical research is not a big priority for governments and is underfunded - that most developments in medicine are largely funded by pharmaceutical companies, who aim to be as profitable as possible, and that other research is funded mostly my charity.
- I know from my very recent research, which I blogged about last time, that America is decreasing its NIH budget for medical research, whilst it is spending approximately 2.5 times the amount on developing weapons.
Now I'll have a look at what Europe is doing in the way of funding medical research - will let you know what I find out shortly.
When I last wrote, I said 'most of us never really consider the importance of medical research, until we are directly effected by illness'. Since then, I realised that people really do think about health and health care. In the UK, I would even go so far as to say people are obsessed by health and the National Health Service. Health, education and crime are often the top 3 public concerns in the run up to any election. and health care is constantly in the news. But medical research is never in the news - not in the context of funding, not here in the UK - at least I dont remember it if it has been. Do people not care? I would suggest that it is simply something that most people just haven't really thought much about. And I think if they did think about it, if they realised that funding for health care does not include funding for medical research, and without medical research, real improvements in health care will be a long time coming, it would be something that a lot of people would care very much for.
Here's my tip for any wannabe president or prime minister: Make medical research a top priority. Promise to do everything you can to cure cancer (for example) and you'll win a shed load of votes - I'm sure more than you would by promising to put a man on the moon. And just think, if you do get to power, and make some serious investments in medical research, you'll be able to make yourselves some really cheap drugs, which will help solve your funding problems with you national health service (if you even have one).
Here's another idea: Get together with some other countries and fund the research together - you could invite some of your buddies from the Middle East and surrounding areas - maybe they would like to contribute some of their oil riches to such a worthwhile project - that way you could spend all your energies doing something constructive together, for a change.
Well, I like to think big - big problems need big solutions. At the end of the day, we are all human - everyone can be influenced. Politicians need power. If we all get serious about this, change will come.
If you have a view, please get in touch - maybe we can join forces...