Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New thrust needed to tackle health inequalities globally says UCL scientist

18.03.2005


UCL public health scientist, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, writes in a paper published in the Lancet journal on 18th March 2005 that a major new thrust is needed internationally to tackle health inequalities. Professor Marmot, Director of UCL’s International

Centre for Health & Society, will chair the Commission on Social Determinants of Health launched by the World Health Organisation on Friday 18th March bringing together scientists and policy-makers to help reverse the negative impact of social policy on ill-health.

Writing in the Lancet paper, Professor Marmot said: “To reduce inequalities in health across the world there is need for a third major thrust that is complementary to development of health systems and relief of poverty: to take action on the social determinants of health. Such action will include relief of poverty but it will have the broader aim of improving the circumstances in which people live and work.”



The Lancet paper is the first produced by Professor Michael Marmot in his role as Chair of the Commission. It sets out why the health impact of social policy must be taken seriously by governments worldwide and underlines the need for understanding about how social policy affects health (the social determinants of health) globally. There still isn’t any solid understanding of why a richer country isn’t always a healthier one and what social policies might impact on health, argues Marmot.

The Commission will set out guidelines for governments and policy-makers on what changes can be made to reverse high mortality rates and ill-health in countries across the world. Professor Marmot believes that better working conditions have a huge impact on mortality rates, as does education. It isn’t always health policy that impacts on the health of a nation.

Key facts set out in Professor Marmot’s paper include:

  • Life expectancy at birth ranges from 34 in Sierra Leone to 81.9 in Japan.
  • Differences in adult mortality among countries are large and growing – The probability of a man dying between 15 and 60 is 8.3% in Sweden, 82.1% in Zimbabwe and 46.4 % in Russia.
  • Of the 45 million deaths among adults aged 15 years and over in 2002, 32 million were due to non-communicable disease and a further 4.5 million to violent causes.
  • There is little correlation between gross national product (GNP) per person and life expectancy.

Greece for example, with GNP at purchasing power parities of just more than $17,000, has life expectancy of 78.1 years; the USA, with GNP of more than $34,000, has life expectancy of 76.9 years. Costa Rica and Cuba stand out as countries with GNPs less than $10,000 and yet life expectancies of 77.9 and 76.5 years.

The paper also illustrates how some governments are rising to the challenge:

  • In Sweden, the new strategy for public health is “to create social conditions that will ensure good health for the entire population.” Of 11 policy domains, five relate to social determinants: participation in society, economic and social security, conditions in childhood and adolescence, healthier working life, and environment and products. These are in addition to health promoting medical care and the usual health behaviours.
  • ‘Familias en Accion’ in Colombia transfers cash to poor families. To qualify, families must ensure their children receive preventive health care, enrol in school, and attend classes. The results are encouraging: favourable growth of children and fewer episodes of diarrhoea. The Oportunidades programme in Mexico had somewhat similar aims with similarly encouraging results.

Professor Marmot concluded: “International policies have not been pursued as if they had people’s basic needs in mind. (….) Recognising the health effects of poverty is one thing. Taking action to relieve its effects entails a richer understanding of the health effects of social and economic policies.

“The Commission will have one basic dogma: policies that harm human health need to be identified and, where possible, changed.”

Alex Brew | alfa
Further information:
http://www.thelancet.com
http://www.ucl.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Disrupted fat breakdown in the brain makes mice dumb
19.05.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>