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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 15 November, 2019

Global health inequality could be eliminated by 2035 — report

An increase of €2.2 billion in Research and Development, combined with a shift in GDP calculations, could bring about the change “within a generation”.

Image: health graphs via Shutterstock

EQUALITY IN HEALTH care across the world could be achieved ‘within a generation’ according to a new report published in The Lancet.

‘Global Health 2035: A World Converging with in a Generation’ details how the financial and technical capacity to deliver healthcare has reached the stage where all countries could work together “to reduce infectious, child, and maternal mortality rates to low levels universally”.

This “great convergence” could save 10 million lives in 2035 alone.

“Full income”

It suggests the adoption of a “full income” model to be used when calculating a countries income and growth prospects. If an emphasis is placed on the value of people living longer, the cost of achieving the “great convergence” will be far less than the economic benefits it will bring, the report says.

Co-chair of the group, Professor Dean T. Jamison of University of Washington says this will convert the value of living longer into “monetary terms”.

While it does not put a monetary value on an individual’s life, it does place a value on changing mortality risk, which traditional notions of GDP neglect.

The plan promotes a doubling of annual research and development funding from €2.2 billion to €4.4 billion over the next six years.

Half of this increase could “potentially” come from middle-income countries, they say, although the focus on international assistance should shift from financial support to  ”the provision of global public goods”.

“Due to important changes in the global economy and success of development efforts, the role of international assistance, while still vital, is going to increasingly emphasize scientific research, provide templates and models that can be emulated, and focus on development of techniques and dissemination of information” said Lawrence H. Summers.

Low and middle-income countries could meet the extra funding from their own resources through predicted rises in their GDP.

Read: GPs warn of “chaos” in health system after HSE boss raises cuts concerns >

Column: If you had an unlimited budget to fix obesity and disease, what would you do? >

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Nicky Ryan

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