The MDG Summit took place in New York City last week, an event that served as a reminder of the difficult international environment and the little progress that has been made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the internationally agreed deadline of 2015.
According to the Outcome Document for the MDG Summit, adopted by the General Assembly, the impact of the financial crisis reversed some development gains. Disparities between the rich and the poor remain persistent and significant and need to be addressed. In an world of increasing globalization, the alarming disparities that exist between countries needs to be addressed for the development of their populations. The improvement of global health is intricately interweaved in each MDG.
In an effort to overcome inequity in global health, we need to focus on improving relative income—that is, reducing gaps in income distribution. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Health is related to our physical, mental and social well-being, so if one of those factors is out of balance, the implication is that it is likely to lead to a generally unhealthy lifestyle. Our income is the umbrella under which the three factors are protected; the better your income, the better your quality of life and social standing.
Consistent with addressing the fundamental cause of disparities in health among individuals living in the same country and region, policiymakers need to think about the factors that that have the largest influence on social and health problems. Most likely these would be most positively influenced by improvement of social status through relative income.