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Public Health Rev. 1994;22(3-4):339-74.

Towards a higher priority for health on the development agenda.

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  • 1Medical Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa.


Over the last few years major international agencies (particularly the World Health Organisation and the World Bank) have increasingly recognised that investing in health is crucial for development. Development policies have the potential to enhance or impede progress in achieving Health for All. At the macro-economic level it is broadly recognised that the state of the economy of a country has a strong influence on its health level. The growing number of the population below the poverty line in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to have a substantial impact on health in the future. Further, structural adjustment programmes' impact on health has yet to be adequately evaluated. Rapid population growth in sub-Saharan Africa needs to be innovatively addressed as a matter of extreme urgency. The education of women is strongly related to child survival. Over the next few years the prospects for global disarmament are increasing. Options for using both the technology, financial savings, and personnel for improving health need to be investigated. A broader range of policy options for health needs to be considered by governments. A greater focus on information, education, and communication for health is needed that draws upon both the private and the public sector; greater use of regulation and legislation as solid policy instruments, for example, for pollution control, and banning tobacco and alcohol advertising, is required. Financial strategies using a combination of taxes and subsidies have not been adequately used in developing countries. The previous emphasis on urban-based expensive hospitals has proved to be inappropriate, resulting in severe inefficiency and inequity in the health systems of developing countries. Greater attention must be given to funding those areas with a high potential for positive externalities and that yield public goods. The final policy instrument involves using research to extend the options for intervention choice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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