Global Health – The Formula Is Not This Complicated

December 31st, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis

complicated-equation

 

You and I and most of our international neighbors share a common passion: increase people’s healthy years of life. But so very many factors are involved: cultural differences, low resources, economic interests, political disagreement, armed conflicts, profiteering… All this weighed heavily upon me as I labored to identify a simple but effective model for global health about which to build the first INMED International Medicine & Public Health curriculum.

 

I ultimately selected the Human Development Index (HDI). This standard is used throughout the United Nations and is based upon three measures: gross domestic product (GDP), adult literacy (including education attainment), and life expectancy. Developers of the HDI believed it could be used not only as a measure of development but also as a broad model for comprehensive development. Why? Simply put, these three factors are intimately interconnected. Whatever advances economic status most always advances health status. What educational gains realized are usually accompanied by health gains. And, improved physical health is closely connected with educational and economic progress. Want to advance global health? The formula is

 

  • Increase literacy and general education
  • Increase economic development
  • Promote health through risk factor reduction
  • Intervene against the leading causes of death and disability

 

They marvelously complement one another. Not so very complicated, after all.