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Introduction to Health Equity and Social Justice

Watch as Oluwaseun Akinyemi reviews some basic topics of health equity and social justice as they relate to the efforts to eradicate polio. (Step 5.2)
SPEAKER: Hello, welcome to the module on health equity and social justice, where we’ll be exploring issues about equity, equality, social justice, and social determinants of health– and how this will affect the management of public health. We’ll start with this video on fighting polio in remote Chad. As we see this video, I’d like you to think about the equity issues in this video. [VIDEO PLAYBACK]
SPEAKER: According to Bruce Aylward of the World Health Organization, as long as any child anywhere is paralyzed by this virus, it’s a stark reminder that we are failing as a society to reach children with the most basic of services– and for that reason polio eradication is the ultimate in equity, and is the ultimate in social justice. The polio eradication leadership has argued that polio is the ultimate in health equity and social justice. And as an example from the Lake Chad video which you’ve just seen illustrates, in certain ways this is unquestionably true. In this module, we’ll go deeper into these issues and explore some of the complexities of achieving something like social justice through an eradication program.
The lecture topics we’ll be considering includes social determinants of health, differences among equality, equity and disparity on why these matter in global health– and how we might achieve health equity in health programs, and how polio eradication has approached these challenges. Finally, we will be considering plans, strategies, and activities to increase equity in health-service delivery.

Oluwaseun Akinyemi, MD, MPH, FWACP, FRSPH, PhD
College of Medicine, University of Ibadan & University College Hospital, Nigeria

This quote is shared in the lecture:

“As long as any child anywhere is paralyzed by this virus, it’s a stark reminder that we are failing, as a society, to reach children with the most basic of services. And for that reason, polio eradication: it’s the ultimate in equity and it’s the ultimate in social justice.”

—Bruce Aylward, World Health Organization (WHO)

Reflect on this quote and the reading Polio outbreak among nomads in Chad: Outbreak response and lessons learned:

Why do you think that this WHO official believes that polio eradication is emblematic of global health equity and social justice? Do you agree? Are there other disease control programs you feel embody the ideals of equity and social justice, and why?

Post your thoughts in the discussion.

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Planning and Managing Global Health Programmes: Promoting Quality, Accountability and Equity

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