Canada’s large wealth disparity is an urgent issue. The gap between the very rich and very poor is increasing, affecting our health and our health care system. Dr. Nav Persaud, Canada Research Chair in Health Justice, wants to improve everyone’s access to health and healthy living—by simply providing us with what we need for free.
Canada’s current patchwork drug coverage leaves more than one million Canadians without essential medicines each year because of cost. Statistics show that the poor suffer from poorer health compared with the wealthy, and don’t live as long. These facts underscore the importance of publicly funded health programs. But deciding what essential goods to provide with finite resources—and how to provide them—is both difficult and controversial.
Applying his experience as a doctor and a health scientist, Persaud is tackling these challenges by working with the World Health Organization to develop evidence-based ways for countries to decide what essential medicines to cover.
More specifically, he and his research team are using randomized controlled trials to test his methods and evaluate their impact on the health of both children and adults. The results are informing and shaping better policies for delivering the health services and drug coverage people need.
Ultimately, Persaud’s research is helping to ensure that we can all lead healthy lives, no matter where we live or how much money we make.