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The health challenge in emerging market cities

The health challenge in emerging market cities

Former PM of Pakistan, Shaukat Aziz calls for the reinvention of urban and rural public health, but at what cost?


April 4, 2011 10:05 by

Massive migration to urban areas, high unemployment, low incomes, poor housing and sanitation, inadequate infrastructure and social deprivation are shared symptoms of economic hubs where population growth has not been reconciled with cohesive approaches to public-health policy. As government, business, and academic leaders agreed at a recent meeting held under the auspices of the Emerging Markets Symposium, the promise of emerging-market countries will not be realised if their cities, and consequently their economies, are sick.
A seminal 1995 report on human development by my compatriot, Mahbub ul Haq, stressed the differences between human security viewed as personal security and viewed as national security. He used human-development indicators rather than aggregate national indicators to measure economic and social progress. His fundamental proposition was that development is about people.
Nothing is more fundamental to human security than health, which permits human choice, enables human freedom, and underpins human development. We often focus on health care and emphasise the roles of medicine and physicians. But health is also about wellness, the security of life, and the capacity to work and learn. As the economist and philosopher Amartya Sen has put it, “health is a precondition for functional effectiveness across a whole range of human activities.”

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