Health is key in advancing three of the most fundamental issues on the global agenda: economic development, global security, and human rights, HSPH Dean Julio Frenk told The Huffington Post.
Healthy populations are crucial for growing struggling economies around the world, Frenk said. “We now understand that health is not just the result of economic development, it is one of the conditions for development to happen at all.”
Frenk pointed to pandemics as health crises that can become security crises. If a pandemic were to kill and disable a significant percentage of a population, for example, that would have major security ramifications. In the developing world, the inequity of deaths from AIDS and other unnecessary causes create the slow-burning discontent in which extremism and resentment against the West can develop, he said.
Human rights become very specific when they are connected to health concerns, Frenk said. Democratic governance should include not only civil and political rights, but also social rights including the right to the highest obtainable standard of health, he said.