| Stock Photo provided to PDM
Some of our readers liked my earlier article on how “Mexican Bamboos Can Make Joe Biden a Genius,” as this link. If President Biden repeats the American experience in the Philippine capital of Manila in the 1900s — and does it also in other developing countries — it can make him a “Super Genius.”
President Biden has announced a detailed plan to combat the present and future pandemics. It is a well-studied and viable plan crafted with the help of a medical task force organized by the Biden Administration. But …
Nicole Spector of the Gobankingrates.com reports that “(now-President) Biden has a detailed plan to handle the worsening outbreak of COVID-19 and its economic repercussions, while also taking action to prevent another deadly pandemic in the future. As part of his plan to advance global health security, (Mr.) Biden has said that his administration will ensure public health systems ‘remain strong and ready to prevent, detect, and respond to pandemic threats whether caused by natural causes and climate change, bioterrorism, or laboratory accidents,’ according to his website.”
According to a report in the journal Science, “the work essential to staying safe from another deadly virus attack, including protecting forests and monitoring wildlife trade costs $22.2 billion to $30.7 billion. But even $30 billion has nothing on what the COVID-19 pandemic will cost by the time it is done with us. The Science report estimated that the pandemic has already cost the US at least $8.1 trillion. A study published in JAMA in October projected that the final cumulative financial costs of the COVID-19 pandemic would weigh in at more than $16 trillion.”
The U.S. Medical-Center Experience and Experiments in the Philippines in the 1900s
This Jan. 29 marks the 178th birthday of William McKinley (1843–1901). He was the 25th president of the United States from 1897 until his death by assassination on Sept. 14, 1901. But before he died, President McKinley appointed William Howard Taft in 1901 as the first civilian governor-general of the United States in the Philippine Islands (PI). It became a US colony as a result of the Spanish-American War of 1899. After a bloody war with the then-government of the short-lived First Philippine Republic, declared on Jun. 12, 1898, Mr. Taft came to the archipelago. The Christian part of the Filipino-American War ended officially on Jul. 4, 1901. (Although Filipinos of Muslim faith in Mindanao Island continued the war against the American colonizers well into 1915 and beyond.)
One of the new Civil Governor Taft’s first acts was to “reinvent” the limited public-school system that the former Spanish colonizers set up in the Philippines and made it a national network. Governor Taft also brought in the first batch of American teachers, called the “Thomasites,” like the first batch of instructors arrived on board the transport ship, USS Thomas, on Aug. 23, 1901). He also set up the first state-run University of the Philippines (UP) to complement the few universities set up by Manila’s Spanish religious orders. The newly-created Office of Public Instruction also started to send bright young Filipino high-school students to the Continental United States (CONUS). (They were usually class valedictorians and salutatorians.) (for collegiate studies. Those who excelled in college (including courses in the medical field) continued to earn master’s and doctorate degrees. Then all of them returned to the Philippine Islands to hold important career positions in the government. You can read more about the American reinvention of Philippine education.
“This Jan. 29 marks the 178th birthday of William McKinley (1843–1901). He was the 25th president of the United States from 1897 until his death by assassination on Sept. 14, 1901. But before he died, President McKinley appointed William Howard Taft in 1901 as the first civilian governor-general of the United States in the Philippine Islands (PI). It became a US colony as a result of the Spanish-American War of 1899.”
And more importantly, Governor Taft set up in a sprawling compound in the Ermita district of Manila what became known as the first “Medical Center (MC)” of the United States. An “MC” is a three-pronged cluster of medical schools, a general hospital, and a medical research-and-development (R&D) center. The Taft Administration set up the UP colleges of medicine, nursing and other medical fields, the Philippine General Hospital, and the National Science Center. The NSC became known for its medical research on vaccines against malaria, cholera, influenza, polio, and other diseases.
Even medical researchers from CONUS-based medical schools — like the Harvard University’s — teamed up with the US Army in doing experiments in vaccines and antibiotics in Manila. I reported a tragic accident that resulted in the deaths of testing participants (composed of Filipino prisoner-volunteers) in a medical experiment that involved a physician from Harvard University.
How Biden Can Turn Back the Clock and Do Again the Taft Initiative in Manila
President Biden can become a “Super Genius” in the world’s eyes if he can duplicate with more success than what then-Civil Governor William Howard Taft did in Manila in the 1900s. He can begin a global initiative of creating 50 new Medical Centers (MCs) in strategic locations. The cost of establishing these 50 21st-century Centers is affordable. These can be set up with more modern medical schools, hospital infrastructures, and R&D centers that can cost less-than US $1-trillion. Possibly not more-than $20-billion per Center. It is only approximately 1/16 of the estimated cost of the 2019–2022 COVID-19 pandemic and medical crisis that American taxpayers will ultimately pay.
“The American policy and decision-makers should have remembered the Taft Initiative and recreated what Mr. Taft did at the turn of the 20th century in Manila. Now, President Biden has the chance to do it in 50 countries and do it better, with state-of-the-art equipment, teaching, and more knowledge of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.”
Biden has the experience as the Vice President of then-President Barack H. Obama during the Ebola epidemic in 2014-2016, when the US sent medical workers, including members of the US Military medical corps, to West Africa. They can nip the Ebola epidemic in the bud. And the US suffered only two deaths caused by the Ebola virus (and both were visitors from Africa). But the American medical workers pulled out of West Africa after the pandemic was mitigated and almost wiped out. The American policy and decision-makers should have remembered the Taft Initiative and recreated what he did at the turn of the 20th century in Manila. Now, President Biden has the chance to do it in 50 countries and do it better, with state-of-the-art equipment, teaching, and more knowledge of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. These medical centers can manufacture more cost-effectively — under license — the present crop of vaccines and viral-therapeutic medicines. And the bottom line is that President Biden can eliminate what I have coined as “Vaccine Imperialism” by the rich and developed countries.
By the way, the visionary work of Mr. Taft, who became the 27th American president in 1909, paid off even in the 1960s. When the United States needed nurses, physicians, and other medical professionals, more-than 500,000 nurses, 22,000 physicians, and tens of thousands more medical professionals from the Philippines answered the recruitment call. Many of these Filipino medical workers have settled in the United States and are now American citizens.
The medical centers can produce affordable vaccines and therapeutic medicines. The bottom line is that the world will remember President Biden to eliminate the “Vaccine Imperialism” by the rich and developed countries.
And the World Health Organization predicted — even before the COVID-19 pandemic came — that the world faces a shortage of at least six-million nurses by 2030.
“The medical centers can produce affordable vaccines and therapeutic medicines. The bottom line is that the world will remember President Biden to eliminate the “Vaccine Imperialism” by the rich and developed countries.”
There is the “I2D2” idea of generating global funding — as managed by states’ pension funds — that I have discussed earlier. There are more-imaginative sources of funding available. We have also suggested that the American economic and military aid be turned instead as investments in viable projects in the recipient countries. Some suggestive ways are even being done now on a limited scale. I will explain in the next edition of this column.