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Introduction to Public Health, Ethics, and Equity

Description:

Oxford University Press, 2004.

Toolkit:

Health Equity and Social Justice Toolkit

Keyword Area:

Environmental Justice, Health Equity, Social Justice

Jurisdiction:

Institutional Author:

Sudhir Anand, Fabienne Peter, and Amartya Sen, Eds

Submitted:

04/07/2009

Modified:

04/07/2009

The NACCHO Toolbox is a repository of available resources to help local public health practitioners. Tools are produced by local, state, and federal agencies, as well as academic institutions and other stakeholders. The contents of this Toolbox are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official recommendations of NACCHO. NACCHO makes no express or implied warranty with respect to the contents and disclaims liability for any damages arising from or connected to the use of the material in this Toolbox.

  • Incorporates wide-ranging, new perspectives in public-health ethics.
  • Includes contributions by eminent scholars from a variety of relevant fields.
  • Investigates the normative implications of empirical research on social inequalities in health.
In the last fifty years, average overall health status has increased more or less in parallel with a much celebrated decline in mortality, attributed mostly to poverty reduction, sanitation, nutrition, housing, immunization, and improved medical care. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that these achievements were not equally distributed. In most countries, while some social groups have benefited significantly, the situation of others has stagnated or may even have worsened.

If health is a prerequisite to a person functioning as an agent, inequalities in health constitute inequalities in people's capability to function -- a denial of equality of opportunity. So why should a concern with health equity be singled out from the pursuit of social justice more generally? Can existing theories of justice provide an adequate account of health equity? And what ethical problems arise in evaluating health inequalities?

These are some of the important questions that this book addresses in building an interdisciplinary understanding of health equity. With contributions from distinguished philosophers, anthropologists, economists, and public-health specialists, it centres on five major themes: what is health equity?; health equity and social justice; responsibilities for health; ethical issues in health evaluation; and anthropological perspectives.