In the Public Interest

Health, education, and water and sanitation for all

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Published: 1 September 2006

Classrooms with teachers; clinics with nurses; running taps and working toilets: for millions of people across developing countries these things are a distant dream. And yet it is these vital public services – health, education, water and sanitation – that are the key to transforming the lives of people living in poverty.

Building strong public services for all is hardly a new idea: it is the foundation upon which today’s rich country societies are built. More recently, other developing countries have followed suit, with impressive results. Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Kerala state in India, for example have, within a generation, made advances in health and education that took industrialised countries 200 years to achieve.

Building strong public services has been proven to work. It should be at the very heart of making poverty history. In the twenty-first century it is a scandal that anyone lives without these most basic of human rights, yet millions of families still do.

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