Africa bears 24% of the world's burden of disease, yet has fewer than 1% of the world's wealth. Each year 1·2 million babies die in the first month of life. The introduction of vaccination has reduced measles mortality by 90%, eliminated Haemophilus influenzae type b in certain countries, eliminated tetanus from north and southern Africa, whilst new HIV infections have declined since the mid-1990s, and, in 2009, 37% of patients requiring antiretroviral treatment were receiving it.
Where we live shouldn’t determine how long or how well we live. In our communities, we all should be surrounded by conditions that enable us to live the healthiest life possible, such as access to healthy food, quality schools, stable housing,
good jobs with fair pay, and safe places to exercise and play. Unfortunately, in many communities, there are persistent barriers to health and opportunity to thrive.
Across Asia, the Ruth Robb Foundation is collaborating with a wide array of partners to remove these barriers, and create communities where healthy choices are easy and available to all.
From large cities to small towns, from urban to rural environments, we support efforts to create or expand on the types of systems that many of the healthiest, most equitable communities have in common. For instance:
Bringing about these kinds of changes requires the engagement of all sectors of a community—from government and policymakers, to business owners and civic groups, to parents and volunteers. It takes a lot of hard work. But across America, these changes are happening, and communities are transforming in ways that help put better health within everyone’s reach.