Global responsibilities for global health rights towards a global health fund
OUR WOMAN ON THE MOON
One out of three people living on this planet do not have access to basic health care – that makes 2.5 billion people.
Some of them people live in countries that are simply too poor. About 1 billion people live in so-called ‘low income countries’, which means that the economic activity in these countries is worth less than a thousand euros per person per year. (To compare: the economic activity in Belgium is worth about 36 thousand euros per person per year.) To enable low income countries to provide basic health care to their population, every person living in one of the so-called ‘high income countries’ would have to transfer 36 euros to a person living in a low-income country – that makes 10 cents out of every euro.
Other people who do not have access to basic health care live in countries that are wealthy enough. Most of the so-called ‘lower middle income countries’ don’t need international financial assistance. Their problemn however, is that they are trying to conquer a bigger share of the global economic activity, and keeping wages as low as possible is one way of achieving that. To keep wages low, however, governments of lower middle income countries also keep taxation low – and that means they cannot afford to provide basic health care.
Then we have billions of people who do have access to basic health care, at the present time. But in an increasingly deeper integrated global economy, even high income countries are under pressure to reduce taxation levels, which may result in insufficient government revenues to be able to continue to provide the healthcare that inhabitants of these countries got used to. Within the European Union, for instance, the Governments of Greece, Italy, and Spain, are severely cutting their public health care budgets.
These problems are too big and too complex for a small foundation like ours. But we remember how in 1961 the President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy, challenged his compatriots to support an expedition to the moon. There was no treasure awaiting men there, only the proud realization of a task long considered impossible. Through achieving this task, unprecedented progress was made in many other scientific and economic sectors.
Our ‘woman on the moon’ project is a Global Fund for Health: a fund that organizes ‘10 cents’ transfers from high income countries to low income countries, to achieve the core content of the Right to Health. While working to achieve this goal, the so-called ‘international community’ of sovereign and independent states will have to agree on minimum levels of social policies, on minimum levels of taxation, and on reasonable and justified transfers between countries. It will have to embrace globalization, while acknowledging that economic globalization and social globalization are like Siamese twins: one cannot survive without the other.
Because health is a human right
Human Rights aims at defining what human beings can expect from the societies they belong to In fact, what they can expect from each other. Grant each other the freedom to think, to believe, to stand for their convictions. Don’t enslave anybody. Don’t imprison anyone unless he/she has violated the law and only after the facts have been established by a fair trial. But also: take care of each other, without sacrificing of individual autonomy and responsibility. Be responsible for the basic needs of all, in order to give to every one his/her chances in life. Communities which ignore Human Rights do not function well. Health is one of these Rights. Everybody is responsible of taking care of his/her own health as well as possible, and above all, he/she is entitled to expect that health improvements and basic health care are provided fo by the State (ex : drinkable water). In countries where inhabitants pay taxes and participate in their nations' decisions and conventions, governments are responsible to guarantee conditions for a healthy life and basic health care. However some countries are too poor even to provide this bare minimum. Moreover, we are evolving towards a multi-layered society, where people are at the same time citizens of their towns, their countries, their continent and the world. If we want our society to function well, we have to guarantee and protect the basic Human Rights of everyone.
Global Social Protection
A multi-layered society like Europe's, for instance, with towns, cities, countries and a community of states, continuously adapts to reality. Trade provides prosperity. But often this prosperity is poorly distributed and ends up generating huge inequalities in the different layers of the population. Many people therefore do not get a fair chance in life. Social protection, sustained by the strongest countries, adjusts markets, which is essential in realizing Human Social Rights. Whilst international trade is growing, an adjustment by a border transgressing social protection is also needed. Should we aim for a global social protection scheme and abolish local schemes? This is neighter our intention, nor our goal. The existing national schemes will remain the basis for global social protection. Every country has to maintain a certain level of autonomy enabling their citizens to choose democratically how much to contribute to the mutual social protection and what their priorities are. What we propose to do is to add an international layer to the existing national protection schemes, asking all countries to contribute according to their domestic income to this new international fund. The contributions would then be re-allocated to countries in need of external help BUT showing a clear determination to respect Human Rights and demonstrating adequate governance.
10 eurocent for every €100 euro income
Health is but one element of global social protection program. Priority is however given to health because it is vital and because we can fairly easily evaluate its costs. The World Health Organization estimates the needs of the poorest countries, in which roughly 1 billion people are currently living, at some 50 € per person, per year. However, the Governments of these countries are only able to invest 10€ per person per year into their public health systems. That means that a sum of 40 billion € is needed, which is not a small figure. Yet, the gross income of the inhabitants of the rich countries, also counting for 1 billion people, amounts to approximately 40.000 billion €. Out of every 100$ income, only 10 cents are needed to solve this problem! Figure out for yourself what this contribution would represent on your income.
Resultaten 1 - 690 van690 people want the creation of a global health fund
Do you also agree that everybody should have access to primary health care? Click here and support. You even can do even more, paying 10 cents on every €100 of your income. Figure out the level of your contribution or decide for yourself how much you want to contribute to the Global Health Fund, guaranteeing basic health care for all. Inform your friends and relatives, spread around you, as far as you can the idea of “10 cents” by the Hélène De Beir Foundation.