To grow, India must invest in public health

While there is much debate about the current state of India’s economy, it is pertinent to ask what factors might slow economic growth over the longer term. In this context, the poor state of our nation’s public health is important. Despite some vigorous steps by government, we still rank among the weakest performers in the world in crucial areas like maternal and child health.

Professors D Bloom and JP Sevilla (Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health) and D Canning (Queen’s University) studied more than 100 countries to prove that a one-year improvement in life expectancy of a population increases economic output by 4%. Researchers Amiri Shiraz (Iran) and UG Gerdtham (Lund University, Sweden) found that changes in under-five mortality impacted economic growth in over 85% of 180 countries studied. Malnourished children earn 20% less as adults than other children (Save the Children). Micronutrient deficiencies alone cost India 0.4% of its GDP each year, according to the World Bank. Investing in a child’s health and nutrition sets her up for a productive life. READ MORE

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