A new report made public yesterday by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland indicated that inequalities around the world was killing people on a higher scale unprecedented in human history.
The report observed that “the toxic combination of bad policies, economics, and politics, is in large measure responsible for the fact that a majority of people in the world do not enjoy the good health that is biologically possible. Social injustice is killing people on a grand scale.”
Reacting to the report, WHO Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan, said there was a continuous strangulation of citizens around the world as a result of several forms of inequalities, which requires a new model to change the current situation.
“Health inequity really is a matter of life and death,” Chan stressed while commending the report.
“But health systems will not naturally gravitate towards equity. Unprecedented leadership is needed to compel all actors, including those beyond the health sector, to examine their impact on health. Primary health care, which integrates health in all of government’s policies, is the best framework for doing so,” she stressed.
The report which was released by WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health found “evidence that demonstrates in general that the poor are worse off than those less deprived, but they also found that the less deprived are in turn worse than those with average incomes, and so on.
This slope linking income and health is the social gradient, and is seen everywhere – not just in developing countries, but all countries, including the richest. The slope may be more or less steep in different countries, but the phenomenon is universal.”
It also found out that though “economic growth is raising incomes in many countries but increasing national wealth alone does not necessarily increase national health. Without equitable distribution of benefits, national growth can even exacerbate inequities,” the report observed.
Meanwhile, Nigeria received commendation for its eradication of Guinea Worm in the country at the 67th World Health Assembly.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, told journalists that the recognition would boost government efforts to continue provide direction in the provision of effective healthcare services in Nigeria.
The minister explained that new measures to rid the country of killer diseases are beginning to “yield positive results, going by several improvement on maternal-child healthcare in Nigeria.”
Also speaking, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, said the 67th World Health Assembly had given Nigeria a new benchmark that ensure that targets on healthcare service delivery are timely attained.
Alhassan further stated that “the new drive by President Goodluck Jonathan to formulate better healthcare policies entails an improved approach to tackling some of the difficult challenges facing health system in the country.”