Menzies Centre for Health Governance 2020 Annual Report

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Menzies Centre for Health Governance

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Menzies Centre for Health Governance 2020 Annual Report

The Menzies Centre for Health Governance 2020 annual report reflects on what was an interesting year for the Centre.

The Menzies Centre for Health Governance’s work builds on that of Amartya Sen, who reminds us that to live healthy lives with dignity, hope and freedom, people need material resources, a sense of control, and a voice in the decision-making processes that affect their lives.

Sadly, COVID-19 has disrupted these social foundations. Whilst no one has been untouched by the pandemic, those who have the least control over the daily conditions of their lives have felt its devastating impacts the most. Their mental and physical health will suffer now and for a long time into the future.

To disrupt things even more, pandemics were just one of the challenges for health equity in 2020. The impacts of a worsening climate crisis and new levels of inequality also brought heightened risks to health. These plus COVID-19 throw into sharp relief the need to address the social determinants of health. The conditions into which we are born, grow, live, work, and age, and which are shaped by the way society chooses to run its affairs.

As communities locked down and our lives contracted, it was easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of these challenges. A central theme animating the Centre’s research in 2020 was how to repurpose COVID-19 into an opportunity to collectively think about, and act differently on, these complex problems.

Across a range of issues including social and economic policy, trade and investment, health harmful commodities, and food governance, the report illustrates the Centre’s work on building pathways to positive change, rather than further pathologising the problems.

Core to this, is the Centre’s focus on understanding the dynamic institutions, interests and ideas that shape multisectoral public policy, market practices and the actions of civil society groups, and how these can be shifted in a direction that advances positive and equitable health outcomes. As we see sweeping policy measures being deployed around the world in response to the pandemic that will have impacts for decades to come, these understandings are more important than ever.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet