Economists demand shifts in the economy prioritizing Health
According to the WHO, 133 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered for every 100 people in high-income countries. While in low-income countries, they administrated only four doses per 100 people. The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought into focus the harsh reality of the growing inequities worldwide in access to health care and health products.
The world continues to follow the same economic paradigm without changing the underlying finance structure. In fact, it applies outmoded thinking on economic development, which carries an idea of Health For All. As the date (from 29-31 October) of the G20 Summit approaches in Rome, there is an opportunity for a radical redirection. It would turn into an economy for Health for all, shifting from Health for the economy. In this summit, Health and finance ministers and heads of state and government discuss current issues. The crucial challenge is to increase the finance availability for Health and govern it more effectively.
The WHO (the World Health Organization) Council on the Economics of Health For All calls for clear goals to focus investments towards Health. It is considering this strategy as a long-term investment rather than a short-term cost. The Council’s new brief on this strategy prioritizes two fundamental dimensions:
Creating fiscal space by lightening artificial restrictions commanded by old economic assumptions and transforming the harmful effects of moves that lead to significant health cuts. It would happen by allocating investments towards Health For All to improve significantly.
Directing investments to guarantee Health for All becomes the primary goal of economic activities, and improve public leadership and state capabilities to build a helpful regulatory, investment environment and industrial policy;
Governing private and public finances by regulating private health markets and directing the private finance towards improving health outcomes worldwide.
The Council considers that a new paradigm must avoid macroeconomic policies and theories that move them away from Health For All.
This means designing policies to reach the strategy in the long-term perspective while aligning finance from all areas and sources, fueling gains in the public interest.
Lastly, the idea of the challenge is to transform mindsets in countries that force internal restrictions on spending. It also intends to transform externally-imposed conditionalities that limit spending on what matters in terms of Health and promote the strategy – Health For All. Changing the rules is a fundamental priority of any strategy, and policymakers have time to rethink finance now.
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