Archive | March 2013

How is health linked to development?

Over the weekend I will be making my way to Botswana to participate in the global thematic consultation on health in the post 2015 development agenda. This meeting brings together civil society, academia, private sector, youth representatives, governments, heads of international health and development agencies as well as members of the UN High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda. We will be tasked to consider the input and submissions from people and organisations from all over the world and ultimately make a recommendation to the UN Secretary General on how health should be prioritized in the next chapter of global development.

Post 2015 development agenda

I would love to hear your thoughts as I prepare to chair a discussion in Botswana on how does health fit in the 2015 development agenda?

We live in a world burdened with increasingly diverse and complex development challenges. As we begin the task of crafting a framework to respond to these challenges, the post-2015 agenda presents an opportunity to rethink what makes development that is inclusive, innovative and applicable to all people. It provides us with a platform to introduce new ways of delivering smart development.

A healthy population is a prerequisite for development. A child, who is borderline nourished, will tip into frank malnutrition if they contract an infectious disease such as measles. Evidence also demonstrates that minimising the burden of illness through health interventions such as immunisation will positively affect a child’s ability to attend school and attain high education levels.

Concurrently, development has a bearing on health. Approximately 25% of the global disease burden is due to modifiable environmental factors. Related effects of unsustainable development, notably outdoor and indoor air pollution are now major causes of global ill health. The greatest burden falls on the poorest population, women and children.

Development is surely about improving people’s lives. A population cannot progress if it is burdened with ill-health. Good health is the foundation on which communities and nations can and do flourish.

Addressing health in isolation of other development challenges such as environment, education and economic growth will diminish our chances of ensuring sustainable change. How can we clearly articulate and support the synergies between health and the other sectors? How can we devise shared solutions to drive people-centred, inclusive development?

What’s your view? Please leave a comment below.