EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

News, Global Public Health, Health Disparities: 2009 Human Development Report from the United Nations

Despite progress in many areas over the last 25 years, the disparities in people’s well-being in rich and poor countries continue to be unacceptably wide, according to the Human Development Index (HDI) released today as part of the United Nation’s 2009 Human Development Report (HDR). This year’s HDI, a summary indicator of people’s well-being—combining measures of life expectancy, literacy, school enrollment and GDP per capita—was calculated for 182 countries and territories, the most extensive coverage ever.

Excerpt from a press release issued by United Nations Human Development Reports Office (Oct 5 2009)


The latest Human Development Report by the United Nations was released on Oct 5 2009, presenting data gathered in 2007 from countries around the world. Begun in 1990, the series provides analysis of health, economic, demographic and quality of life indicators globally.  The current 229-page report is available for anyone to read or download, at no cost, at this link.

A 14-page HDR Executive Summary is the source of the three screenshots shown below:


Next: An excerpt from a chart showing that Norway received the top spot out of 21 countries ranked for scores on the Health Development Index:


The score given to the United States declined to 13th place on the 2009 list.


The screenshot below shows the countries with the lowest Human Development Index; Niger scored lowest in the rankings:



Images – All above taken from 2009 HDR Executive Summary – http://www.undp.org/hdr2009.shtml – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

For a list of related or archival HDR publications from the United Nations, click here.


A couple of news stories of the day illustrate some of the background issues that may be contributing to the declining quality of life scores in the U.S.

Veteran family physician Deb Richter wrote a brief article entitled “Lack of Universal Health Care is a Mass Killer“, about the serious health consequences suffered by uninsured patients seen in her Vermont practice.  It was posted on The Progressive website on Oct 4 2009.

Guardian (UK) columnist Paul Harris wrote “Will California become America’s First Failed State?”(Sunday, Oct 4 2009 edition), examining a complex list of declining economic, public health, housing and quality of life management issues faced by residents (and elected government officials) living in the state of California.

An article from the Oct 6 2009 New York Times provides a brief description of how health care cost subsidies on a sliding scale for an estimated 46,000,000 people currently uninsured in the U.S. might operate.


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