The External Dimension of the European Research Area
Edited by Heiko Prange-Gstöhl
Chapter 4: Tackling Global Public Health Challenges: How Should the European Research Area Respond?
Ehimario U. Igumbor and David Sanders INTRODUCTION There are few sectors where the European Research Area (ERA) can have a more timely and relevant impact than in global public health. This is so because improvement in health and longevity can strengthen economic development and improve individual livelihood in human societies. The bidirectional relationship between health and economic development is not widely appreciated. Health is more commonly understood as ‘a central goal and an important outcome of economic development’ and is less viewed as an important investment which then ‘promotes economic development and poverty reduction’ (WHO 2001). Good health is not only influenced by but also itself influences and acts as a means to economic welfare and individual livelihood in countries the world over. Perhaps the most substantive documentation of the evidence for the link between health and development comes from the World Health Organization’s Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (CMH) which reported that investing in population health in low and middle income countries (LMICs) is worthwhile not only as a priority goal in its own right (for its capacity to save millions of lives), but also in contributing to ‘reducing poverty, spurring economic development and therefore, promoting global security’ (WHO 2001). Three channels of influence of ill-health and disease on economic development were described by the CMH as including (i) economic losses due to reduction in healthy life expectancy as a result of early deaths and chronic disability; (ii) the phenomenon of high fertility to compensate for high death rates...
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