|Global Health Post 2015 Accelerating Equity|
Date: 26-31 January 2015
Venue: Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World
The Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) is an annual international conference focusing on policy-related health issues of global significance. The conference is hosted by the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation, the Thai Ministry of Public Health,
The Conference in 2015 will be co-hosted by the Prince Mahidol Award Conference, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, U.S. Agency for International Development, Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Rockefeller Foundation, China Medical Board, and Chatham House with the support from other key related partners. The Conference will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 26 -31 January 2015.
The year 2015 marks a significant year; it is the year set for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The timing is appropriate to review the situation and determine forthcoming challenges. Several forums have been organized to brainstorm on a set of new targets for the post 2015 development agenda, which will be adopted at the Development Summit in September 2015.
There are serious concerns on which global health issues should be included in the post 2015 development indicators and targets. Some prefer targets on the progress with health systems, including Universal Health Coverage, human resources for health and access to essential medicines. Others prefer specific targets on unfinished agenda around maternal and child health and infectious diseases such as HIV, TB and malaria (MDGs 4, 5 and 6), and also non communicable diseases (NCDs). Finally, a few additional global health indicators and targets may be put to the post 2015 development goals.
There is a need to agree on a set of priority global health issues to be collectively tackled by the global community. This will enable commitments to addressing these priorities irrespective of their inclusion into the post 2015 development goals.
Furthermore, there is a consensus from every major forum that inequity in health outcomes between the rich and the poor is unjust and unfair and should be reduced. Changes are needed in health financing systems that put the economic burden inequitably on poor households with income losses and unreasonable health care payments associated with ill-health. The movement to address health inequities has started more than a decade since 1998 with the World Health Assembly resolution to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in health. The WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health was established in 2005 and issued a report on “Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health” in 2008 which called attention to the collective action needed globally.
The World Conference on Social Determinants of Health in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in October 2011 stressed the importance and urgency of taking action on social determinants of health to reduce health inequities between and within countries. Likewise, the Report of the Global Thematic Consultation on Health in April 2013 proposed guiding principles for new development agenda to include human rights, equity, gender equality, accountability and sustainability.
The landscape of health governance has changed substantially in the past two decades. With many other global health initiatives established, the players now involve not only public entities but also non-state actors including private sectors and civil societies. Non-health sectors are also contributing much more. The World Trade Organization is one of the most important international institutions in public health policies especially related to trade policies that impact on health products and pharmaceuticals. There is serious concern that the trade and economic policy based on neoliberal approaches including global economic liberalization, privatization, market competition, and the pursuit of efficiency, may worsen health inequity. Likewise, economic and geopolitical transitions have influenced how local and national leaders promote and invest in health systems, legislation and service delivery.
International finance institutions have also put priority on global health issues. The World Bank’s first report on Investment in Health in 1993 and the more recent one in 2013 on “Global health 2035: a world converging within a generation” highlighted priority health issues and the gains from investing in health.
PMAC 2015 will focus on accelerating health equity by discussing important health issues; governance and health financing systems that will reduce gaps in social stratification, differential exposure, differential vulnerability, and differential consequences of ill health and improving the quality of health care services. The theme of ‘inequity’ cuts across all issues and will be the focus throughout all the consultations. Concerted efforts from multi-stakeholders are crucial for successful implementation of the policies. The conference will also discuss measurement and information systems that need to be strengthened for monitoring health inequities over time.