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Mortality and health policy: highlights of the issues in the context of the World Population Plan of Action.
In: Mortality and health policy. Proceedings of the Expert Group on Mortality and Health Policy, Rome, 30 May to 3 June 1983, [compiled by] United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. New York, New York, United Nations, 1984. 37-79. (International Conference on Population, 1984.; ST/ESA/SER.A/91)This paper reviews the major issues that have emerged in the analysis of mortality and health policy since the 1974 World Population Conference. The 1st part summarizes current mortality conditions in the major world regions and evaluates progress toward achieving the goals of the World Population Plan of Action. It is noted that the current mortality situation is characterized by continued wide disparities between the more developed and less developed regions, especially during the 1st year of life. The 2nd part focuses on the synergistic relationship between health and development, including social, economic, and health inequalities. It is asserted that mortality rates in developing countries are a function of the balance governments select between development strategies favoring capital accumulation and concentrated investments on the 1 hand and strategies oriented toward meeting basic needs and reducing inequalities in income and wealth. Data from developed countries suggest that economic development does not necessarily lead to steady gains in life expectancy. Some variations in mortality may reflect changes in family relationships, especially women's status, that are induced by social and economic development, however. The 3rd part of this paper analyzes the effect of health policies on mortality, including curative and preventive programs and primary health care. The lack of community participation is cited as a key factor in the weak performance of primary health care in many developing countries. In addition, there is strong evidence that the concepts and technologies of modern medicine must be adapted to existing systems of disease prevention and care to gain acceptability. The 4th section, on the implementation of health policies, discusses health care management, planning, and financing. It is noted that successful implementation of health policies is often hindered by scarcity, inadequate allocation, and inefficient utilization of health resources. Finally, more effective means to cope with rising costs of health care are needed.