Education And Debate

A global health equity agenda for the G8 summit

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 03 March 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:533
  1. Ronald Labonte, Canada research chair (,
  2. Ted Schrecker, senior policy researcher1,
  3. Amit Sen Gupta, co-convenor2
  1. 1 Globalisation and Health Equity Research Program, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, Canada
  2. 2 People's Health Movement—India, New Delhi 110 017, India
  1. Correspondence to: R Labonte

    The G8 summit in July could be used to enable developing countries to meet the millennium development goals. What should world leaders commit to?


    Substantial reversals of the global trend in improvements in health of the past 150 years are now evident in large parts of the developing world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.w1 In addition to its intrinsic value as a human right,1 health is an important contributor to economic development.2 w2 This creates a compelling case for investing in health, especially since several cost effective interventions are available that can produce rapid and broadly shared improvements in health.3 w3

    The international community is committed to the millennium development goals, most of which are closely related to health status or determinants of health. However, much of the developing world will not meet those goals by the designated date of 2015 unless the industrialised world makes major long term commitments to provide new resources.4 Because the G8 countries account for roughly half the world's economic activity and dominate the decision making processes of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, appropriate commitment at the 2005 UK summit could turn the page on decades of neglect and fatal indifference.5

    Health systems and health research

    Developmental aid for health totalled $8.1bn (£4.4bn, €6.3bn) in 2002, the most recent year for which figures are available.6 This is a fraction of estimated minimum needs: $27bn by 2007, $38bn by 2015.2 Of critical importance is support to curb the spread of communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. The G8 must provide a timetable for increasing their financial support for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which has announced a fifth grant competition while acknowledging that it may lack resources for any new projects.

    At the same time, the G8 must ensure …

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