Dr Tracey McDonald AM PhD FACN, Professor of Ageing, 2013
Dear Colleagues, in 2000 United Nations world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration and pledged to create a more equitable world. Over thirteen years later large disparities remain in terms of access to health and education, land and productive assets and the polarisation of rich and poor households persists. Just over 9% of income is owned by 1% of Australia's population and 38% of women and 32% of men aged 65+ years live in poverty.
Stakeholders working on sustainable post-2015 development goals acknowledge that inequality is growing and that small elites are benefiting from development and growth at the expense of the majority. One suggestion being made for a future agenda is a stand-alone item on reducing inequality by equalizing opportunities. Unfortunately, the uptake and success of any such policy depends on governments having the political will to overcome national economic, socio-political and spatial inequalities that have cumulative and mutually reinforcing effects in terms of systematically disadvantaging people already struggling to survive in our society.
For health practitioners the recognition of disadvantage in accessing health services along with increasing price gouging by medical services, is part of the approach we need to include in our assessments, interventions and evaluations of outcomes for our patients. Awareness of inequalities and the consequences for people at the wrong end, needs to be at the centre of our professional contribution to an equitable and fair society.
I commend the report to you and your students.
The full report can be downloaded from the following site: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/documents/reports/InequalityMatters.pdf