Action to address ongoing health inequities.
Subject: Equality (Laws, regulations and rules)
Pub Date: 08/01/2011
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: August, 2011 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 7
Topic: Event Code: 930 Government regulation; 940 Government regulation (cont); 980 Legal issues & crime; 970 Government domestic functions Advertising Code: 94 Legal/Government Regulation Computer Subject: Government regulation
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Name: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 266344829
Full Text: Health inequalities result from social inequalities and action on them requires action across all the social determinants of health. This is the mantra of the director of the International Institute for Society and Health, Sir Michael Marmot, guest speaker at last month's Marmot Symposium in Wellington. He was invited by the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA), as part of a stocktake on how to address ongoing health inequities here. He spoke at a series of activities and symposia convened by the Heart Foundation and the University of Otago, Wellington.

Marmot chaired the World Health Organisation's Commission on Social Determinants of Health, Led the recent "Marmot Review" of health inequalities in England and Wales, and has just completed his term as president of the British Medical Association.

Taking universal act-ions to reduce the steepness of the social gradient in health was one of the key messages to emerge from the review of heaLlh inequalities in England and Wales, Marmot said. However, actions needed to be on a scale and intensity proportionate to the level of disadvantage, ie a balance of targeting and universalism. Giving every child the best start in life and creating fair employment and good work for alt were some of the policy objectives needed to reduce health inequalities.

The NZMA has published fact and action sheets on health inequalities in New Zealand, prepared by University of Otago public health medicine specialist Tony Blakely and GP Don Simmers. As welt as outlining progress (eg the slight decrease in the gap between Maori and non-Maori life expectancy, and New Zealand's commitment to becoming smoke free), the fact sheets also point to high child poverty rates and poor social outcomes among children and youth.

The fact sheets offer "the ten next most important actions to reduce health inequities': These include equitable and fair fiscal and social welfare policy (including progressive taxation); maintaining and enhancing social cohesion through ensuring all services are accessible by all; aligning climate change, sustainability and pro-equity policies; ensuring fair employment and safe, healthy workplaces; maintaining and enhancing Maori, Pacific and Asian policies and programmes; and continued research into health equity, focusing on what works. For the full text, go to www.wnmeds.ac.nz/academic/dph/research.
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