Health disparities between nations could be eliminated within a generation

A major new report in The Lancet contends that, for the first time in human history, the current generation has the financial and technical capacity to eliminate health disparities between poorer and wealthier nations. The report, Global Health 2035: A World Converging within a Generation, outlines an ambitious investment plan that shows how governments and donors could achieve a “grand convergence” by bringing preventable infectious, maternal, and child deaths in all countries down to the levels currently seen in the best-performing middle-income countries—within a generation.

Published online December 3, 2013, the report was written by a commission of 25 leading global health experts and economists from across the globe that was chaired by Harvard University President Emeritus Lawrence Summers. Two authors were from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH): Dean Julio Frenk, T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development, and Sue Goldie, Roger Irving Lee Professor of Public Health and Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

If the report’s recommendations for increased global investment in health are followed, the authors estimate that in the year 2035 alone, roughly 10 million lives could be saved in low- and middle-income countries, resulting in enormous social and economic gains for the countries most affected.

“The basic message…is that good investments in health are good in themselves, but they also promote economic growth,” said Frenk in a December 2, 2013 Harvard Gazette article. “The main idea is that by 2035 we can achieve what’s called a grand convergence, closing the most egregious equity gaps we still have between poor and rich populations around the world.”

Read the Harvard Gazette article

Read an overview of the report