Equity in Health

An economic framework for analysing the social determinants of health and health inequalities
Epstein D, Jiménez-Rubio D, Smith PC and Suhrcke M: Centre for Health Economics Research Paper 52: October 2009

The methodology of priority setting in health care has reached an advanced stage of development, but it is difficult to integrate public health and social interventions into the traditional cost effectiveness approach. Priority setting tends to be drawn towards cost-benefit rather than cost effectiveness analysis, a much more demanding methodology. Furthermore, analysis of equity requires modelling differential responses by subgroup, again increasing complexity. There has been some work by economists on how society values identical health gains for different population groups. In principle, this research can be used to adjust cost-effectiveness ratios for equity concerns. However, studies so far have been relatively small scale and tentative in their conclusions. Given the methodological challenges, policy makers (including the UK government) have developed a more pragmatic approach towards priority setting, in the form of descriptive health impact assessments. These are likely to be especially helpful when examining cross-departmental initiatives.

An overview of cardiovascular risk factor burden in sub-Saharan African countries: A socio-cultural perspective
BeLue R, Okoror TA, Iwelunmor J, Taylor KD, Degboe AN, Agyemang C and Ogedegbe G: Globalization and Health 5(10), 22 September 2009

The purpose of this paper is to explore the socio-cultural context of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prevention and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It discusses risk factors specific to the SSA context, including poverty, urbanisation, developing healthcare systems, traditional healing, lifestyle and socio-cultural factors. It found that the epidemic of CVD in SSA is driven by multiple factors working collectively. Lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and smoking contribute to the increasing rates of CVD in SSA. Some lifestyle factors are considered gendered in that some are salient for women and others for men. For instance, obesity is a predominant risk factor for women compared to men, but smoking still remains mostly a risk factor for men. Additionally, structural and system level issues such as lack of infrastructure for healthcare, urbanisation, poverty and lack of government programmes also drive this epidemic and hampers proper prevention, surveillance and treatment efforts.

An overview of the 2005 MDG summit

The World Summit  is expected to bring together more than 170 Heads of State and Government: the largest gathering of world leaders in history. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take bold decisions in the areas of development, security, human rights and reform of the United Nations. Proposals in the area of development call for breakthroughs in debt relief and trade liberalization, and increases in aid to revitalize infrastructure and improve health and education services, in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including cutting extreme poverty in half by 2015 (www.un.org/millenniumgoals ).

An overview of the food security situation in eastern Africa
Mukhebi A, Mbogoh S and Matungulu K: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), 2010

This report presents the preliminary findings of a study undertaken in six pilot countries – Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and DR Congo. The objectives of the study were to provide a detailed assessment of food security-related initiatives, plans and strategies and also to describe the status of food security in the six countries. Based on the experiences and lessons learnt thereof, the study proposed ways of enhancing synergies and coherence between the identified food security initiatives of the regional economic communities (RECs), inter-governmental organisations (IGOs) and individual member states within Eastern Africa, to strengthen regional and country-specific partnerships in the development of a regional food security programme for Eastern Africa.

An ‘exceptional’ World Health Assembly
Khor M: Third World Network, 17 June 2006

This year’s World Health Assembly began and closed rather dramatically. This article describes the highlights of the meeting and the decisions made on various health issues which include the selection of the next WHO Director General, a global strategy on IPRs and health research, the medical brain drain and the prevention of STIs.

And So The Babies Die

The Transkei's infant mortality rate speaks volumes about the poverty of the people and their services.

ANGOLA: HIV/AIDS - Fighting the unknown
A special report from IRIN plusnews

Angola's civil war, which has isolated thousands of communities from the outside world for long periods over the past three decades, might also have prevented the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS across the country.

Further details: /newsletter/id/28653
Angola: Plans to Launch HIV/AIDS Testing Project

The Angolan government plans to launch an HIV/AIDS testing and counselling project to analyse the prevalence of the disease in the country, official news agency Angop has reported.

Anthrax Scare Hits Cape Town

The global anthrax scare has hit Cape Town in several separate events which included threatening letters coated in white powder, and suspicious white powder in a rubbish bin at a local police station. Provincial MEC for community safety Hennie Bester said the events were most likely hoaxes intended to sow panic among civilians.

Anti-AIDS medication still too expensive, says MSF report

As the prices of first-line anti-AIDS medication continue to fall, newer antiretrovirals (ARVs) can cost up to 12 times more in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a report by Medecines Sans Frontieres (MSF). Paediatric formulations were also more expensive than adult ARV drugs: treating a child for one year could be as much as US $816, while the same triple-drug regimen for adults was only $182.