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Lancet Commission Calls For Increased Investment In Health To Remove Disparities Among Rich, Poor Nations

“Health disparities between rich and poor nations could be banished in a generation by investment in research, vaccines and drugs to combat diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, global health experts said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. “The report also recommended taking bold preventative steps in public health, such as increasing taxes on tobacco and other substances that can be harmful, like alcohol and sugar,” the news agency notes (Kelland, 12/3). “Written by a group of 25 leading health experts and economists from across the globe and chaired by Larry Summers, a Harvard economist and former adviser to the Obama and Clinton administrations, the Lancet Commission report says ‘health disparities between nations could be eliminated within a generation’ if around $60 billion (£37 billion) a year was injected into health care systems,” The Guardian writes (Ramesh, 12/2).

Summers “said that governments and donors could create ‘a grand convergence’ and prevent 10 million avoidable deaths per year by 2035,” The Independent notes. Summers wrote, “For the first time in human history, we are on the verge of being able to achieve a milestone for humanity: eliminating major health inequalities, particularly inequalities in maternal and child health, so that every person on Earth has an equal chance at a healthy and productive life,” according to the newspaper (Cooper, 12/3). “The ‘convergence plan’ is summarized by the commission as ‘16-8-4’ — reducing under-five mortality to 16 per 1,000 live births, cutting annual AIDS deaths to eight per 100,000 population and bringing down annual tuberculosis (TB) deaths to four per 100,000 population,” The Guardian notes (12/2). “The report points to the success of the ‘4Cs’ — China, Chile, Cuba and Costa Rica — in reducing [mortality] despite starting from low-income levels in the 1980s,” BBC News adds (Dreaper, 12/2).

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