Syndicate content

World Health Day: Living healthy and productive lives

Cristian Baeza's picture

On the eve of World Health Day, we are reminded that improving health is a critical contributor to productivity and country competitiveness. Health contributes greatly to better learning in children, and better productivity overall, all essential for socioeconomic development. However, health is not only a contributor to development—it's a purpose of development.

Societies seek better productivity and country competitiveness not as results in themselves but as instruments for people to live healthy productive lives. Healthy productive people weave the fabric of socially stable and productive societies that are full of opportunity.

Ensuring that people live longer lives also means that these lives should be free of diseases that tend to appear with aging—such as hypertension and diabetes—which dramatically alter people’s ability to follow their aspirations and participate in society. The burden of these non-communicable diseases has a significant impact on people and on countries’ fiscal sustainability and competitiveness.

At the World Bank, we support countries through our financing and timely, quality, and effective policy advice to help them build strong health systems so they can achieve the

Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) for 2015, protect people from falling into poverty due to illness, and meet the challenges of non-communicable diseases and other emerging health issues associated with longer lives.

World Health Day is a reminder to us to redouble our collective efforts to deliver lifesaving health care to those that need it—especially to reduce maternal and child mortality, where we are lagging behind—and at the same time, support countries in achieving their aspirations to achieve universal health coverage. We at the World Bank are committed to working closely with the World Health Organization and global and country partners to achieve these objectives.

For World Health Day, we're rolling out our Maya Health Systems video in four new languages: Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, and Russian.

World Bank and Health
Making Maya cry: why health systems matter
World Bank and MDGs


Submitted by Roverto (Manila , Philippines) on
This is a wonderful article and a cute video. But I wonder why any developing country would need the World Bank for this and go into debt for essentially current expenditures on care for the sick. Would it not be more strategic if the World Bank only financed prevention of disease? Maya would be safe but not all the other ideas in the article, This would be a true investment for us, The article never mentions preventing diseases. As in: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? The World Bank sure can make a better living financing" the pound of cure"? But for the client country, prevention would make a much better return for money, make people more healtry and productive, and would help govenment budget. It would be interesting to know why World Bank never mentions prevention of diseases and only more money for curing. The type of endeavors Dr Baeza describe in the article are charity for the people who are ill now because the World Bank did not finance prevention 10 or 20 years ago. Charity is necessary, but the work belongs best to charities. I expected World Bank to have a strategy for better health and not one for more health ministry spending on charity systems. Maybe I am wrong and missed strategy thinking and systems for diseases prevention in the article.

Submitted by Roverto (Manila , Philippines) on
I like to add more about problem that World Bank ignores. This is not unusual: Maya drops out of school at 12, starts smoking at 16 when she also has first baby. The boyfriend leaves , she has to work and live in a bad neighboorhod because she has little money, she is raped, she contracts AIDS at 25, after 3rd baby. She also has malaria. She can probably have lung cancer at 50, and she will live that long thanks to free drugs for AIDS. World Bank answer: universal coverage. Maya becomes a burden on her neighbors and other fellow taxpayers. This doesn't make sense for the World Bank to promote. The first (and 2nd, 3rd, 4th...) answer is to prevent Maya's huge and expensive health problems instead of only stress on taxpayer and only reactive policym waiting for people to get sick and then paying. Government can make thes mistake by itself and does not need World Bank advice!

Submitted by Vivan U. Ukah on
Dear Cristian, Very interesting read and even more impressive video! We indeed have to increase our efforts to promoting good health starting ofcourse with ourselves. As health professionals, we learn and discuss measures to preserve and promote life, however we do not always practice what we preach. With the increasing level of cardiovascular diseases globally, it is still a wonder that some health professionals do smoke. During my Master's program in Public health, a number of my coursemates smoked tobacco and drank excessively, immediately after lectures! So I always wondered what they said to their patients or other people who had unhealthy habits. Therefore, I think we should begin changing ourselves first and foremost and developing healthy lifestyles so that when we go about promoting health, we can do so confidently and others can see our lives as exemplar.

Add new comment