Re-imagining a fairer and healthier South-east Asia

The coronavirus pandemic provides an opportunity to live up to the ideals of World Health Day – though it might involve more taxes

Providing more health and social services goes beyond strengthening ministries or health departments.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Every April 7 since 1950, World Health Day has been celebrated. Today's theme is "Building a fairer, healthier world" for 2021. As South-east Asian countries glimpse a vaccine-shaped light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, they must now turn their attention to recovery, which includes building fairer and healthier societies.

Despite being highly diverse in terms of size, wealth, types of government and health outcomes, the region's countries have the same need at this point in their development: a new health-based social contract featuring stronger primary healthcare, improved social determinants of health, and more and fairer taxes.

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