I’ve just come back from attending the Prince Mahidol Award Conference in Thailand. It’s an annual conference that tackles high-priority issues in the health sector, with a strong focus on influencing policy-makers.
This year the conference looked at global health issues post-MDGs.
Here are the main messages that stood out for me from the deliberations of the conference:
- Universal health coverage should be a major post-MDG goal because it is the best way to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequity.
- Public financing is clearly the only way to achieve meaningful universal health coverage (i.e. adequate financial protection providing adequate access to services of sufficient quality).
- There are innovative ways to raise public financing (such as sin taxes) but, as a start, tax collection systems should ensure that the rich and powerful meet their ordinary tax obligations. Vast quantities of tax remain unpaid in many countries.
- Similarly, transnational corporations and transactions should be taxed appropriately. Tax evasion at this level is massive.
- Efforts to promote social development are thwarted by the political determinants of inequity, including powerful supranational influences. These need to be challenged to address rising levels of inequity.
- Some countries have been successful in introducing major improvements to their health systems. This both provides evidence to support global health policy development and puts to shame governments without the political will to address the problems faced by their populations.
These, and other, points will be summarised by the conference organisers in their conference report.
The conference’s website is at http://www.pmaconference.mahidol.ac.th.