WHO: Social injustice kills on grand scale

Aug. 28, 2008 at 1:20 PM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Social injustice is killing people on a grand scale, said the World Health Organization's Commission on the Social Determinants of Health in Switzerland.

A three-year investigation by the WHO's Commission on the Social Determinants of Health was presented Thursday to WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan.

"(The) toxic combination of bad policies, economics and politics is, in large measure responsible for the fact that a majority of people in the world do not enjoy the good health that is biologically possible," the commissioners said in their report "Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity through Action on the Social Determinants of Health."

The report also said that:

-- Maternal mortality is three to four times higher among the poor compared to the rich in Indonesia. The difference in adult mortality between least and most deprived neighborhoods in the United Kingdom is more than 2.5 times.

-- In the United States, 886,202 deaths would have been averted between 1991 and 2000 if mortality rates between white and African-Americans were equalized.

-- Child mortality in the slums of Nairobi is 2.5 times higher than in other parts of the city.

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