Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Global health equity

The new British Medical Journal is well worth a visit ( BMJ ), several interesting pieces including more on M.D.'s downplaying risk in communicating with patients, a comparison of the U.S. and U.K. health systems, health inequities in the UK, etc.

Of particular interest is an essay by Ronald Labonte, Ted Schrecker and Amit Sen Gupta on A global health equity agenda for the G8 summit. As this site has reiterated frequently, we are nowhere close to achieving the UN's millenium development goals, and in fact, as Labonte et al tell us, in many parts of the world we're headed in the wrong direction.

A few highlights:

  1. Developmental aid for health is less than a third of the minimum need of $27 billion. [Sounds like a lot, huh? A couple of months worth of Iraq war.]
  2. Education, nutrition, food safety, water, housing -- those are the most important determinants of health. G8 aid is grossly insufficient and usually requires projects to pay for themselves in the marketplace, which means they are less likely to benefit the poorest people.
  3. Debt cancellation. Need I say more?
  4. Fair trade. The U.S. administration preaches free trade but doesn't practice it, subsidising U.S. agriculture and putting up barriers to products from poor countries.
  5. Establish a global human right to basic needs.

Read it quick, it goes subscription only in a few days.

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