According to a recent Lancet study, democracy is good for “public health”, and countries that adopted democracy between 1970 and 2015 reported reduced mortality from heart diseases, cirrhosis, stroke and road accidents.
“Free and fair elections appear important for improving adult health… most likely by increasing government accountability and responsiveness,” the study noted. “Democracies are more likely than autocracies to lead to health gains.”
The study, authored by Thomas J Bollyky and colleagues, analysed the association between democratisation and population health in 170 countries between 1980 and 2016.
“The quality of democratic life, particularly free and fair elections, accounts for 22 per cent of the variance in cardiovascular disease over time within countries, 18 per cent of the variance in traffic injuries, 17 per cent of the variance in tuberculosis, 10 per cent of the variance in cancer,” stated the study.
According to the study, the probable reason for poor health outcomes in many African countries is the presence of corrupt autocrats who retain power by force and ignore the welfare of their people without repercussions.
Politics And Health Are Intertwined
The study concludes by stating that global health advocacy groups should no longer refrain from the “complications of politics” and instead call on the governments of the US, EU and other Democratic nations to “impose sanctions on dictators, including those who cooperate with western military aims.”