45) Global Health as a factor of Economic Development

by Javier Carro

Topics: Economy, Frontpage, Health

Promote Health Universally: in September 2019, we will celebrate 41th anniversary of the declaration of Alma-Ata, which established as a goal «to achieve health for all through the promotion of political and technical changes and the allocation of resources».

It has been a long way that has two major milestones in the current millennium: the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) and the current Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030).

In September 2000, the United Nations adopted the Millennium Declaration establishing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the period 2000-2015, placing Health at the heart of development. Three of the eight objectives were directly related to health, and all the others had important indirect effects on it.

In 2015, once the deadline reached, the UN went a step further, approving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an opportunity for countries and their societies to embark on a new path to improve the lives of all. The Agenda has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include ensuring a healthy life and promoting universal well-being (Goal 3: «Guarantee a healthy life and promote well-being for all at all ages»).

In 2017, Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, declared at the World Health Forum in Tokyo, that «Universal Health Coverage means precisely care and services for all: Equal Access, Quality Care and Affordable Services. Our goal must be to protect and promote physical and mental well-being for all» and indicated that the UN should help countries to access essential health services.

The greatest health risks worldwide currently are the high rates of maternal mortality, neonatal mortality, the spread of infectious diseases, and a poor reproductive health. Another important problem is drinking water and sanitation. In 2019, more than 2000 million people in the world still lack access to basic water and sanitation services.

Goal 3.8 of Sustainable Development (GSD) -proposed to be reached by 2030- seeks «to achieve Universal Health Coverage, in particular protection against financial risks, access to quality essential health services and access to safe, effective medicines and vaccines, affordable and quality for all».

A separate chapter of study deserves the contribution of philanthropic institutions such as the Bill Gates Foundation. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, created in 2000, has a patrimony over USD 50,000 million devoted to public health, and to eradicate the extreme poverty.  Warren Buffett is other important donor with a great fortune of around USD 44,000 million thanks to his investments in the stock market. He has a close relationship with Bill Gates, having donated 80% of his money, approximately USD 37,400 million, to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and four other organizations.

According to the UN, «Health is both a result and a factor of progress. It is at the center of our vision for a sustainable, inclusive and prosperous future». Therefore, in the future, Universal Health Coverage should be a factor of economic development.

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