Could Australian Doctors Be Doing More To Tackle Health Inequities?

costarica

The life expectancy for men in low income countries fell from 62 years in 1997 to 56 years in 2006. In rural Cambodia, only 8 per cent of the population had adequate access to water and sanitation in 2004. health is not only about wealth but is also about how it is distributed. More equal societies tend to be healthier. For example, childrens wellbeing is better and levels of trust are higher in more equal rich countries, while the more unequal rich countries have longer working hours and a higher prevalence of mental illness. This slide comparing Costa Rica and US is a corker; it shows that better health and happiness is not all about more money, or even more spending on health services. The evidence that Baum presented was compelling, but the question lingering afterwards was: what can be done? Public health consultant Rebecca Gordon has been investigating whether Australias medical powerbrokers have been doing enough to advance action on the social determinants of health and health equity. Rebecca Gordon writes: In June this year, the Royal College of Physicians in England released a policy statement How doctors can close the gap: Tackling the social determinants of health . The RCP points out that many doctors have not paid enough attention to health promotion, preventing ill health and reducing health inequalities, and unequal access to care. As some of the most trusted professionals in society, doctors at all levels can join forces to advocate for health equality. Doctors can advocate on a personal, community or national level. The statement includes recommendations and suggestions for actions across the health sector. These range from considering the impact of day-to-day practice on health inequalities to advocating policies and programmes that could benefit the physical and mental health of socially disadvantaged groups and also result in reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. In Australia, colleges and professional organisations have made government submissions and public statements on issues such as health reform, Indigenous health, mental health, refugee health and climate change. Individual doctors have spoken up on the same issues.

image source http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2010/10/02/could-australian-doctors-be-doing-more-to-tackle-health-inequities/

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