Health is arguably the main objective of international development. Indeed, three of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals are themselves indicators of improving health: Reduce Child Mortality; Improve Maternal Health; and Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases. Equally important, poor health and disease also act to inhibit progress towards social and economic development goals.
Most of us who live in rich countries are healthier than at any time in human history. Yet, millions of people across the globe – mainly in poor countries - needlessly suffer and die of preventable or treatable illness and disease every year. That such a situation should continue to exist in the 21st century when wealth, global communications and medical advances provide the means to eliminate this disparity is scandalous, and morally unacceptable.
Using a multi-disciplinary approach drawing heavily on readings from Public Health, Social Epidemiology, and Medical Anthropology, this course will introduce students to the striking inequities in health between rich and poor countries, and between the rich and poor within countries. We will examine the forces that conspire against health for the poor and vulnerable, particularly in developing countries, and consider the building blocks of good health in social conditions and medical systems. We will examine the relationship between culture and health and methodological implications for global health research and practice. We will look in detail at the relationship between income inequality and health through specific case studies in women’s health, HIV/AIDS, and organ trafficking. We will also critically assess the Epidemiological Transition, the shifting trend towards chronic diseases and the persistence of infectious diseases globally. We will assess international frameworks for health, including the Alma-Ata convention and the goal of Health for All. Finally we will reflect on the ethical and moral dimensions of global health.
The course satisfies Social Science group criteria in that it addresses the subject of global health by considering the broad social, political, economic and cultural forces impacting health at the individual, family, community and country levels. In doing so, it covers a cross-section of key issues, analyses and perspectives of current social science scholars. It looks at the availability (or lack of availability) of modern medical and technological advances to support good health among disadvantaged groups developing countries.
Disability Studies courses focus on how ableism (anti-disability prejudice) operates in different nations and how disability intersects with other forms of identity like gender, class, nationality, and race in complex and varied patterns. Courses draw from fields like international development, health professions, design, sign language interpreting, education, and non-profit management.