[In association with BRICS Journal and the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences]
Access to affordable healthcare is a priority for all the BRICS countries. Dr Aquina Thulare looks at how BRICS is faring and how further collaboration would benefit everyone involved.
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Good health is an indispensable prerequisite for poverty reduction, sustained economic growth and socio-economic development.
Placing health within a globalised, market-based capitalist system results in a dialectical interplay between social classes and the exact nature of whichever social force is best able to set the agenda differs from country to country. These conditions explain why differential exposure and vulnerabilities have an impact on health and wellness and how these have distinctive consequences on populations. These are the “causes of the causes” of common health challenges.
BRICS is home to 42% of the world’s population and contributes 29.5% to global GDP. Notwithstanding the general economic prosperity and improvements in demographic and epidemiological profile since 1990, profound socio-economic inequalities and public health challenges persist within BRICS countries. Over the years, the different BRICS countries have followed diverse evolutionary trajectories in improving the performance of their health systems.
Health has been placed on the BRICS agenda through the social justice, sustainable development and quality of life dimensions as a key area of development and co-operation. Moreover, BRICS ministers of health are mandated to pursue the agenda of ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being of populations in their countries by reaffirming public health financing as an essential element for socio-economic development.
They have committed to:
- Ending epidemics of communicable diseases;
- Prevention and relevant treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs);
- Prevention and treatement of substance abuse;
- Decreasing the number of injuries and deaths from road traffic accidents; and
- Achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and high-quality healthcare systems.
BRICS would also focus on social determinants of health (SDHs) while also introducing UHC strategies that are appropriate for each country’s context. The concept of “health as a human right” and “health in all policies” pervades much of BRICS’ engagement in contributing towards better global health underpinned by several United Nations (UN) frameworks.
Written by: Dr Aquina Thulare
This is an extract of the full article Moving From Health Challenges to Collaborations, found in Issue 3 of BRICS Journal.