Health is not just the absence of illness– rather it is the ability to grow and develop to one’s full potential. Several elements go into the making of a healthy workforce– and it is health economics which closely analyses the connection between health and resources. Resources are not just about money; it also covers materials, time, and the people involved in making the process of healthy living easier. Especially in the case of developing countries, the debate often spirals on how to make a lasting impact with the limited availability of resources.
Relation between health and economic growth
According to noted American economist Robert Fogel, a good part of England’s economic growth in the past 200 years is the result of improvements in the population’s food consumption. Thus, the relation between health and economic growth is a rather strong one. Improved productivity and less burden of illnesses is in fact the direct effect of health on economic growth. At the same time, health also has an indirect impact on economic growth. For instance, a generation of healthy children are sure to raise the future income potential of any country – and this is the indirect and long term impact of health on the economic progress of a country.
Another report published by David Bloom and colleagues outlines how the labor productivity of a nation can improve by 4% just by increasing the life expectancy of its citizens by one year. All this shows how health and economics are deeply connected to one another – any change in one aspect is sure to influence the other.
Better immunization, greater economic gains?
Adopting the right vaccines is one of the major agendas of those involved in public-health decision making. Often there is a lot of brainstorming done on if it makes economic sense to promote and use expensive vaccines in a low-income country. The debate gets an even more serious angle when traditional cost-effective solutions are taken into consideration. But the fact remains that despite being expensive, these vaccines have broader benefits which often goes unrecorded in the traditional calculation formats. For instance, most traditional methods fail to consider the fact that lessening child mortality rate results in families having fewer children that enables the parents to spend more on their children and take better care of them.
Lately, due to immense research and field studies, it has finally been accepted that immunization is the stepping stone to building a healthy family, vibrant community, and a strong nation.