Health is a central element of well-being and happiness. Good health enables a long and
productive life. Good health is essential to the fulfillment not only of the aspirations of
individuals and their relatives but also the aspirations of society as a whole.
The improvement of human health has a direct impact on many dimensions of life, not the least of which is life expectancy. As reported in World Health Statistics 2014, based on global averages, a girl who was born in 2012 can expect to live to around 73 years of age, and a boy to the age of 68. This is six years longer than the average global life expectancy for a child born in 1990.
Given recent research and evidence as to the sources of good health, we know that it is much more than a question of the provision of health services. It is also the consequence of many other influences: age, sex, and factors of heredity; individual lifestyle factors; social and community influences; the environment, etc. In other words, “social health determinants,” as a World Health Organization (WHO) report in 2009 has documented in detail. In this sense, at the level of public policy, as the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion in 2013 in Finland has shown, health has to feature in all policies (HiAP).
Health is also closely linked with the question of equality, as Wilkinson and Pickett clearly demonstrated in their remarkable book, The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone (2009).
The book argues with scientific evidence that there are “pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption.” Nevertheless, we must not underestimate the impact of the health system on individual and collective health. If the health facility, the clinic for instance, is located too far away from home or work, it could discourage people from accessing services on a regular basis and aggravate their health problems. The same might happen if (as occurs in many low-income countries) people living on less than $1 a day have to pay for medical services out-of-pocket or on a “cash-and-carry” basis. They would rather avoid medical consultation than bear with its financial impact.
Read more at fundacionespriu.coop