The Socialist 2 September 2008 |
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Inequality - the world's deadliest disease!
A "TOXIC" combination of bad policies, politics and economics is responsible for people dying "on a grand scale" around the world, says a new World Health Organisation (WHO) report.
Low incomes, poor education, bad housing and other 'social factors' have a far greater effect on people's health and life expectancy than genetics and other 'biological' factors.
Huge health inequalities and differences in life expectancy obviously hit the world's poorest countries most. A girl born in Lesotho, southern Africa, is likely to die 42 years younger than one born in Japan.
But a boy born in the deprived Calton area in Glasgow's east end is likely to live on average 55 years, that's 28 years less than one born a few miles away in the more affluent village of Lenzie. Adult death rates were generally 2.5 times higher in Britain's most deprived areas than in the wealthiest.
WHO's devastating report calls for government policies to be assessed for their impact on health. It says governments should invest in high quality education from the earliest years.
Affordable housing, encouragement for people to use healthier modes of transport and controls on junk food and alcohol are also important, they say, as is the availability of full, fair and decent employment for all at a living wage.
Most people would agree but the working class will need to fight for such advances against the economic plans of the witch doctors of capitalism, who have totally different priorities.