While US newpapers have been infatuated with hourly stock price fluctuations, the press has almost totally ignored the start of the biggest famine in decades—a humanitarian crisis larger in scale than the Japanese tsunami and Haiti’s earthquake. In this post, we take a look at the available data on the emerging famine in the Horn of Africa, and its drivers.
On June 5, 1981, five cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia were reported among young men in Los Angeles, in what was to become the first account of AIDS. The pandemic that transformed Earth now marks its thirtieth anniversary this month. And while much attention is appropriately being paid to declarations made about the Millennium Development Goals and reports on the broad state of the disease in different continents (see the mortality graphs below), it’s easy to forget some of the critical lessons we’ve learned over the years from this unparalleled pandemic. In this week’s blog post, we’ll revisit some of the historical lessons we’ve learned HIV: from the redefinition of the behaviorist model of health promotion, to the detailed tax records of the pharmaceutical industry.
The President’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) has outlined a new U.S. strategy for global health. Secretary Clinton recently described the GHI as aiming to bolster health system development and particularly primary care, tackle health problems that can be eliminated with relatively little investment (for “sustainability”), and focus on maternal and child health (MCH).
To an outsider, this all sounds pretty good; but to those who are familiar with the history of global health, the rhetoric around the GHI ominously harks back to past mistakes. In this blog entry, we discuss the history behind primary care in global health, to explain why previous attempts at “health systems development” perversely backfired in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.
We’ve all heard about the infamous apartheid-era health system in South Africa. As a middle-income country, richer than many in sub-Saharan Africa, the Republic of South Africa provided world-class care for White elites, including the world’s first heart transplant. But the majority of people were denied appropriate access to health care. Spatial segregation between populations was a prominent method to sustain inequality during apartheid, with racially-biased policies leading to the creation of ‘‘Black homelands’’ that detached the poorest areas from regions with better health care infrastructure.
What’s happened since apartheid ended? Has health care access improved for the poor in South Africa? In a recent analysis of health system data from the country, we found a surprising result: an inverse and worsening relationship between health care allocations and disease burden after apartheid.