By Nozipho Dlamini, BUANEWS
The Global Health Watch 2005/2006, an alternative health report, was
initiated by People's Health Movement, Global Equity Gauge Alliance and Medact
with the first report launched in
Managing editor Prof David Saunders said the Watch represented a call to all
health workers to broaden and strengthen the global ill-health and inequalities.
The GHW catalogues disparities in health and draws attention to the ways
in which governments, international institutions and civil society can take
action to combat them, said Prof Saunders of the
For example, the Watch describes the serious problems with the current structure
and processes of global governance, which are rooted in the economic
inequalities that exist between different nations.
According to it, 2.7 billion people live on less that 2 US Dollars a day - a
rise of 10 percent since 1987.
alone, healthy life expectancy is 39 compared to 66 in the developed world and
while wealth in the latter world has risen by more than 150 percent since 1960,
aid per capita has risen by just 10 percent.
Decision-making power in the World Bank and the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) for example is based on financial contributions, which leads to
deeply skewed representation.
At the World Bank, the
alone holds 17 percent of the votes, whilst 47 countries in sub-Saharan
hold seven percent, it says.
In addition, unfair trade drives the widening gap between rich and
poor, keeping hundreds of millions of people locked into poverty and limiting
the development of prospects of low and middle-income countries.
Nevertheless, the publication recommends that developed countries must meet
their pledges to open up their markets to goods from the developing world,
especially in agriculture and textiles.
In addition, it recommends that global, bilateral and regional trade agreements
much undergo health and equity impact assessments, and be subject to greater
parliamentary and public scrutiny.
The United Nations requires fundamental reform to promote greater equality
between countries, fairer globalisation and the fulfilment of universal health
rights, it says.
The report further provides more detailed findings and recommendations from the
chapters on health systems and human resources.
Among the issues covered in the report are globalisation and health, health care
services and systems, health of vulnerable groups and wider health context.
The report concludes with a summary of the main challenges and opportunities,
and a strong call for political mobilisation, required for progress towards a
Meanwhile, the main objective of the National Public Health Conference was to
bring together professionals working in all disciplines of public health to
share research findings pertinent to population heath in the Southern African
It was co-hosted by the Public Health Association of Southern Africa PHASA, the
Gauteng Department of Health, the University of the Witwatersrand School of
Public Health, the International Epidemiological Association and the Health
Under the theme Making health systems work the conference further
focused on two sub-themes, decreasing the burden of disease, increasing equity,
effectiveness and efficiency.