Good education is vital to reducing global health problems says Sarah Brown

Education has a vital role to play in tackling and overcoming the world's major health problems, according to A World at School co-founder Sarah Brown.

She has called for an urgent summit of health and education leaders to agree on how to ensure education programmes underpin major health initiatives.

Sarah, who is also executive chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, proposed the idea in a blog for the Huffington Post.

She wrote: “A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five than a child born to an illiterate woman. The reductions in disease and death cannot be achieved without unlocking the promise of educational opportunity.”

Sarah described the past 10 years as a “golden decade for global health” – but argued that education's share of aid has remained about the same.

She said a proposal for a “Grand Convergance of all the health goals” had been launched at the United Nations on January 16 and would be presented at the World Economic Summit in Davos. The core proposal is for all global health initiatives to form a single strategic partnership.

Sarah added: “This is to be hugely welcomed but I hope one more converging factor can be taken on board as soon as possible.”

That factor was education, she said, adding: “In this 'Grand Convergence', let's not leave education outside the door. Investing in health without investing in education is a non-starter if we are serious about success.”

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