WHO lauds Kerala for improving health scenario

August 28th, 2008 - 8:56 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) Stressing that inequalities in living standards are responsible for the death of people on a ‘grand scale’ across the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Thursday said Kerala is really doing well to improve its health scenario.“Our children have dramatically different life chances depending on where they were born. In Japan or Sweden they can expect to live more than 80 years, in Brazil 72 years, India 63 years, and in one of several African countries fewer than 50 years,” the WHO said in a fresh report.

The toxic combination of bad policies, economics, and politics is, in large measure responsible for the fact that a majority of people in the world do not enjoy the good health that is biologically possible, the global health watchdog said.

Wealth alone does not have to determine the health of a nation’s population, WHO said.

“Some low-income countries such as Cuba, Costa Rica, China, state of Kerala in India and Sri Lanka have achieved levels of good health despite relatively low national incomes,” WHO added.

However, the report stopped sort of spelling out achievements of Kerala, the most literate state of the country.

Mirai Chatterjee, coordinator of Social Security for India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association, said in the report: “The report suggests avenues for action from the local to national and global levels. Policy makers, health officials, grassroot activists and their community-based organizations have eagerly awaited it.”

The association is a trade union of over 900,000 self-employed women in the country.

“Much of the research and evidence is of particular relevance to the Southeast Asian region, where too many people struggle daily for justice and equity in health. The report will inspire the region to act and develop new policies and programmes.”

WHO’s commission on the social determinants of health that prepared the report informed WHO Director General Margaret Chan that the “social injustice is killing people on a grand scale.”

Michael Marmot, head of the commission, said: “Central to the commission’s recommendations is creating the conditions for people to be empowered, to have freedom to lead flourishing lives.”

“Nowhere is lack of empowerment more obvious than in the plight of women in many parts of the world. Following our recommendations would dramatically improve the health and life chances of billions of people.”

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