India launches commission to improve its economy through improved health care

Based on a report issued in 2001 by the World Health Organization's (WHO) Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (chaired by economist Jeffrey Sachs), the government of India is officially forming a special Indian Commission on Macroeconomics and Health to target health sector priorities in order to spur economic development.

India is the world's second most populated country and faces major health and economic challenges. The CMH estimates that the cost needed to provide essential health interventions in developing countries such as India is approximately $30 to $40 per person per year. Current health spending in India is significantly below that threshold, and there is a clear need for scaling up investments in health. India's new Commission will work with the WHO and Columbia University's Earth Institute and Mailman School of Public Health new Center for Global Health and Economic Development (CGHED) to strategize on ways to mobilize increased health care investments in an effective manner. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, and Allan Rosenfield, Dean of the Mailman School of Public Health, formed the CGHED in order to investigate and identify ways to scale up health efforts in developing countries.

India's Minister of Health and Minister of Finance will co-chair the new Commission, which will be supported by a generous grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, and Dean Allan Rosenfield are visiting India to support the launch and to hold meetings with the President and Prime Minister of India. They are accompanied by Earth Institute project leaders Dr. Nirupam Bajpai and Dr. Josh Ruxin.

"The Earth Institute demonstrates Columbia's fervent commitment to address this century's most encompassing global challenge: the sustainable development of the planet," says Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University. "Jeffrey Sachs provides

Contact: Mary Tobin
The Earth Institute at Columbia University

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