Health, Health Policy and Economic Outcomes
148 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2009
Date Written: August 12, 1998
The consequences of health and health policy for economic development are potentially of major importance to policymakers in both the health and development fields. Yet no thorough assessment of the relevant conclusions of the research literature is available, and the research base itself is limited. For ministries or development organizations whose focus also extends beyond health, increased research on these linkages would be useful for better understanding the development process and for advocating policies that will achieve sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty. Whether the final objective of institutional efforts is economic growth, social development, poverty alleviation, or improved health, these domains of international policy are inextricably linked, and better information on the magnitude of the effects of health on economic growth and of health policies on economic outcomes can help policymakers devise health and development policies that will improve people’s quality of life worldwide.
While the positive correlation between health status and economic outcomes is widely acknowledged, it is only recently that researchers have begun to explore in more depth the nature of this relationship. This report represented the beginning of a process of assembling a systematic review of this literature and offers recommendations on extending it. Thus its purpose is twofold: (a) to assess the literature on the linkages between health and development in order to define a foundation upon which to build further research efforts that expand our understanding of these linkages; and (b) to assess the implications for the World Health Organization (WHO) of the current findings derived from this literature and to recommend future policy and research directions.
This report results from the deliberations of the WHO Transition Workshop on Health and Economic Development and of staff work undertaken in connection with that workshop. The workshop was convened to begin the process of engaging a group of health and economics scholars and policy makers in discussing and summarizing ongoing work in this area and to explore the need to support a longer-term effort. This report is an informal one and has not undergone review; it is being made available to stimulate discussion and to provide policy makers and scholars with a sense of the current literature. In addition to the main body of the report, two sets of annexes are included; one contains background notes and analysis prepared for the workshop and the other provides selected abstracts from the literature.
Keywords: Health, Health Policy, Economic development, WHO
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