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A History of Global Health

A History of Global Health
Paperback
, 432 pages

15 halftones

ISBN:
9781421420332
July 2016
$35.00

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A History of Global Health

Interventions into the Lives of Other Peoples

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Over the past century, hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested in programs aimed at improving health on a global scale. Given the enormous scale and complexity of these lifesaving operations, why do millions of people in low-income countries continue to live without access to basic health services, sanitation, or clean water? And why are deadly diseases like Ebola able to spread so quickly among populations?

In A History of Global Health, Randall M. Packard argues that global-health initiatives have saved millions of lives but have had limited impact on the overall health of people living in underdeveloped areas, where health-care workers are poorly paid, infrastructure and basic supplies such as disposable gloves, syringes, and bandages are lacking, and little effort has been made to address the underlying social and economic determinants of ill health. Global-health campaigns have relied on the application of biomedical technologies—vaccines, insecticide-treated nets, vitamin A capsules—to attack specific health problems but have failed to invest in building lasting infrastructure for managing the ongoing health problems of local populations.

Designed to be read and taught, the book offers a critical historical view, providing historians, policy makers, researchers, program managers, and students with an essential new perspective on the formation and implementation of global-health policies and practices.

Randall M. Packard is the William H. Welch Professor and director of the Institute of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria and White Plague, Black Labor: Tuberculosis and the Political Economy of Health and Disease in South Africa.

"For a long time now, historians have been looking for a book that takes a big picture view of the emergence of global health. This is that book, and Packard is the ideal person to have written it. An impressively lucid synthesis of several disparate bodies of literature, A History of Global Health provides readers with a richer repertoire from which to evaluate health problems and campaigns."

"Packard argues convincingly that the best model for understanding global health is to see it in terms of a ‘North-South’ division of labor. This excellent book uses historically observable patterns to challenge students and practitioners of global health to think of the future."

"Randall Packard’s brilliant and sweeping book brims with new insights and provocative claims, all masterfully researched and compellingly argued. A History of Global Health: Interventions into the Lives of Other Peoples is also charged with a moral force that crackles and glows from its subtitle to the last paragraph of its conclusion."

"A penetrating, even damning, account of mainstream international and global health across the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Once again, Randall Packard has produced a must-read volume for specialists and a broader public alike."

"Packard provides the historical and socio-cultural context for the development of what we now call ‘global health,’ a thread that ties Virchow to Gorgas to C.E.A. Winslow to Marmot. This book makes a strong case for and provides solid evidence of the need to balance a biomedical perspective with an appreciation of social determinants to maximize sound global health practice."

"If all books hailed as required reading really were, no one would get anything done. But practitioners of medicine and public health, and tightfisted guardians of the shrinking public purse, should all set down headlamps and flashlights and blinkers to read Randall Packard's powerful new exploration, a history of global health. Packard swivels his piercing searchlight on the specific--tuberculosis and AIDS in Southern Africa, Ebola in west Africa, malaria across it, as well as debates about what to do about these plagues of the poor and the malnutrition and high rates of fertility that were held to be leading to a "population crisis"--to the general, cutting through the fog of intentions good and bad of what is now widely termed global health. His riveting synthesis is not a study of human motivations but rather a sweeping review of the historical roots of attempts to address, with varied motivations and even more varied outcomes, pathogens and pathogenic forces still reaping a grim harvest among the poor, and not just in Africa. In doing so, Packard offers a comprehensive look at the origins of public health's primary transnational institutions, the debates that churned within and beyond them, and campaigns that failed or sometimes succeeded. Packard writes not to cheer us, but rather to remind us that history never starts when we say so: new epidemics are less new than noticed; innovation in medicine and public health is more aptly understood as a series of fits and starts; novel funding mechanisms and global institutions designed to address runaway epidemics are built from rusty and fissured colonial debris; avowed motivations are rarely as unimpeachable as advertised but rooted, rather, in neoliberal ideologies of long duration. But A history of global health is no catalogue of woe. It's result is to instruct and inspire and illuminate. No historian shines a brighter torch on the mortal dramas of our day--or of the dark night that preceded it."

"Frequent epidemics of yellow fever, the first disease threatening to destroy continents, and the more recent scourges of HIV/AIDS, SARS, and Ebola show Packard’s scope in enlightening readers who are rarely likely to be so captivated by a university publication. This is a powerful book demanding substantial time and attention."

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