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Health Promot Int. 2007 Jun;22(2):163-9. Epub 2007 Mar 13.

Healthy public policy in poor countries: tackling macro-economic policies.

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Groupe de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Santé/ Université de Montréal, Unité de Santé Internationale/ CHUM, 3875 rue Saint Urbain, Bureau 509, Montréal, Québec, H2W 1V1 Canada.


Large segments of the population in poor countries continue to suffer from a high level of unmet health needs, requiring macro-level, broad-based interventions. Healthy public policy, a key health promotion strategy, aims to put health on the agenda of policy makers across sectors and levels of government. Macro-economic policy in developing countries has thus far not adequately captured the attention of health promotion researchers. This paper argues that healthy public policy should not only be an objective in rich countries, but also in poor countries. This paper takes up this issue by reviewing the main macro-economic aid programs offered by international financial institutions as a response to economic crises and unmanageable debt burdens. Although health promotion researchers were largely absent during a key debate on structural adjustment programs and health during the 1980s and 1990s, the international macro-economic policy tool currently in play offers a new opportunity to participate in assessing these policies, ensuring new forms of macro-economic policy interventions do not simply reproduce patterns of (neoliberal) economics-dominated development policy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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