Opinion: Why markets should matter to health advocates
Today, one of global health’s biggest challenges — and opportunities — lies in strengthening the markets that make health products, services, and technologies available to those who need them most.
New Global Goals challenge us to work together to improve the health of all people by 2030. But we won’t reach those ambitious targets — and most importantly, save the lives of millions of people — without assuring the supply of quality, affordable, and appropriate products to meet demand; and that requires strengthening the markets for these lifesaving health products.
I have the privilege of overseeing PATH’s Market Dynamics program. This includes our efforts to ensure that markets function effectively so that health solutions reach people in need, especially women and children. Reflecting on this work often reminds me of the progress that has been made in global health since I took my first job with the World Health Organization in 1990. That year, 12.7 million children and more than 530,000 mothers died around the world, a staggering challenge that seemed insurmountable.
By last year, however, annual child deaths had been cut by more than half — down to 5.9 million — and maternal deaths were reduced to about 300,000. While these numbers are still far too high, they show the tremendous momentum in global health, spurred by better access to quality health care services and better tools and technologies.
- Health Care