Increased foreign direct investment (FDI) in healthcare has led to a steep rise in downstream costs and is putting public health in jeopardy, particularly in developing countries, says David Sanders, an expert on public health.
Sanders, emeritus professor, School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, is also a member of the global steering council of the People’s Health Movement. He was speaking at a conference on ‘Global Health Crisis’ in the city on Friday. The conference was organised by Jana Arogya Andolana Karnataka at the Indian Social Institute.
As the governments of India and South Africa were opening their gates to more FDI in the food sector, Sanders noted, people were losing their health and obesity was likely to assume epidemic proportions. “Food trade is posing a threat to public health through transnational companies,” he explained, adding “We really do not need these transnational burger joints.”
Sanders suggested that governments need to take healthcare to lower levels of society by appointing and training grassroots level workers to handle health issues and administer drugs. “A trial in Tigray, Ethiopia, to train local coordinators to teach mothers to give antimalarials promptly reduced under-5 mortality rate by 40 per cent,” he said. He added 29 countries in Africa now allow community health workers to administer antibiotics for pneumonia.
Sanders pointed out India needed to boost spending on healthcare from the current level of 1.2 percent of GDP.
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