The social dimension of sustainable health

18. December 2023
18. December 2023 Rüdiger Beck

A boy who can attend school again with his new glasses. A wife who can “see” her husband again after 20 years of wearing glasses. It was made possible by the voluntary work of NGOs. A newborn baby with a detached retina who will be permanently blind if he does not have an operation costing around €1,500, but whose family does not have the money for it.

These are real-life examples from a world that is unimaginable for basic care in Western societies. However, it is a reality in many regions of the world where health care is inadequate. Two CEO´s of vivamind left the academic setting and set off to the rugged mountain world of the Himalayas, to the EyeCamp in the mountain villages of Cheskam and Bung in north-eastern Nepal from November 28 to December 12, 2023. In cooperation with Nepalese ophthalmologists, Rotary ( and other NGOs supported the Eye Camp with donations and personal commitment on site, which enabled the mountain dwellers to diagnose and treat visual disorders. . More

NGOs are indispensable where the state is unable or unwilling to provide for people’s basic needs. They are no substitute for the responsibility of states to secure the basic right to health for their citizens – quite pragmatically with simple measures to make the basic property of sight possible, as in the example, to secure human existence.

The WHO makes an excellent contribution here, which in our opinion still receives too little attention in the discussion about value-based health and sustainable health. Without including the social and socio-political dimension, the goal of sustainable effective health for the population will not succeed. The contribution should also serve to broaden the focus of sustainable health to include the “one world health” dimension.