Out Today WHO Report on Social Inequality – A Must Read!!


Closing the gap in a generation – Health equity through action on the social determinants of health

The Commission
calls for closing
the health gap
in a generation

“A new global agenda for health equity

Our children have dramatically different life chances depending on where
they were born. In Japan or Sweden they can expect to live more than
80 years; in Brazil, 72 years; India, 63 years; and in one of several African
countries, fewer than 50 years. And within countries, the differences in life
chances are dramatic and are seen worldwide. The poorest of the poor
have high levels of illness and premature mortality. But poor health is not
confined to those worst off. In countries at all levels of income, health and
illness follow a social gradient: the lower the socioeconomic position, the
worse the health.
It does not have to be this way and it is not right that it should be like
this. Where systematic differences in health are judged to be avoidable by
reasonable action they are, quite simply, unfair. It is this that we label health
inequity. Putting right these inequities – the huge and remediable differences
in health between and within countries – is a matter of social justice.
Reducing health inequities is, for the Commission on Social Determinants
of Health (hereafter, the Commission), an ethical imperative. Social injustice
is killing people on a grand scale.”

Key facts on health

Spending on health per person per year:

  • UK average: £1,400
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: £5
  • World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended minimum: £17

Health workers:

  • WHO’s recommended minimum is five health workers per 2,000 people
  • In some countries there is only one health worker per 1,000 people
  • In Europe there are ten per 1,000
  • Global shortage of health workers will be 4 million by 2015

The coordination problem:

  • there are more than 40 bilateral donors
  • 26 UN agencies
  • 20 global and regional funds and
  • 90 global health initiatives

20% of UK direct aid to countries goes to health = £515 million a year

Total DFID health spend is close to £800 million – this includes money we give to agencies, the UN and Civil Society


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