Monday, October 3, 2011

Marmot's "evidence-based optimism" on global action for health equity

Sir Michael Marmot, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, October 2011:

“Closing the gap in a generation is a rousing call. Did the World Health Organization’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) really believe it to be possible? Technically, certainly. Yes, there is a greater than 40-year spread in life expectancy among countries and dramatic social gradients in health within countries. But the evidence suggests that we can make great progress towards closing the health gap by improving, as the CSDH put it, the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.

...In the three years since Closing the gap in a generation was published, there is no question that there is much to make us gloomy...On the positive side, however, much has happened to support my claim that I am an evidence-based optimist...

...The ambition of the CSDH was to create a global movement for social determinants and health equity. As the global community gathers in Rio de Janeiro in October for the conference on social determinants of health, we are at a crucial juncture. Will the call for social justice and the need to formulate all policies to benefit health equity remain something, at best, honoured in speech alone? Or will the global community recognize that action on social determinants of health is not only vital for health equity but has other highly desirable societal outcomes including social cohesion, reduction of crime and civil unrest, a more educated workforce and the freedom for people to lead lives they have reason to value."

Read Sir Michael Marmot's full piece in the WHO Bulletin
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