- Mother and child, Madhya Pradesh, India
- Flickr, DFID
Researchers Discover Powerful Cure for Poverty and Inequality – Health
If you could only do one thing to reduce poverty and inequity around the world, say experts in global development, the best thing you could do is reduce the disproportionate burden of disease on those living in the poorest communities.
Improving health, according to a relatively new and perhaps still under-appreciated report written by a blue-ribbon panel, remains the most powerful tool for improving lives and reducing extreme poverty worldwide.
But it’s still a woefully underused tool that, as Humanosphere will report on tomorrow, is actually losing ground on the anti-poverty agenda even as the evidence of its import swells.
- Dean Jamison
“We have an unprecedented opportunity, unlike any time before in human history, to significantly reduce the level of inequity in the world,” said Dean Jamison, a health policy expert at the University of Washington and, with Harvard University’s Lawrence Summers, one of the lead authors of the report, dubbed Global Health 2035.
“Even in the United States, the single largest cause of poverty is medical expenditures, usually due to some health crisis,” Jamison said. “Europeans have a hard time understanding this, because for the most part they don’t experience medical bankruptcies. But the connection between illness and poverty is also especially the case for the poor in developing and middle-income countries.”
Not everyone agrees, of course, that improving health should be at the top of the anti-poverty agenda.
Some say improving governance, human rights or business development are more powerful means for fighting poverty. Some say we need less targeted efforts and an agenda that emphasizes sustainable development (whatever that means….). The aid and development community, it should be noted, argues about almost everything. Continue reading