WMA Commends Call To Increase Health Spending In Latin America

The World Medical Association has taken note of the declaration adopted recently by the Medical Confederation of Latin America and the Caribbean (Confemel) calling on governments in their area to decrease defence expenditure by 20 per cent and to redirect those resources to health and education.

On the first day of its Council meeting in Santiago, Chile today (Thursday), the WMA commended Confemel for its efforts to improve the health care of the people in Latin America and in the Caribbean.

Dr Anders Milton, chairman of the WMA Council, said: "Last year the WMA adopted a statement entitled Improved Investment in Health Care, which clearly recognises that countries have a responsibility to ensure that adequate resources are provided to promote the health of their citizens. This must be directed into preventative health measures, including vaccination programmes, and the guaranteed supply of potable water, sustainable housing and other prerequisites of health, as well as into direct health care. Unless this happens these countries will continue to see an unacceptable burden of preventable illness and deaths."

"Countries which have a more significant expenditure on health, and international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, should also consider the health impact of all government activities, including the health effect of their general economic policies. Health impact assessment is an essential tool in achieving a sound health care policy and in improving public health."