Major reform plus targeted strategies have the potential to provide relief
Underpinning recent global health initiatives, including the Millennium Development Goals and the United Nations’ High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, has been recognition of the links between illness, disability, poverty and economic development. In Australia, the economic effects of illness, particularly long-term illness and disability, are often overlooked or examined exclusively in terms of the consequences for government budgets and the economy. While such analyses may be effective in alerting policymakers to the scale of particular epidemics, they provide little indication of the direct impact of illness on the wellbeing of those in the community. To do this, the unit of analysis needs to be shifted from the macro economy to individuals and households.
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