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    Peer Reviewed

    Sociological studies of third world health and health care: introduction.

    Gallagher EB

    JOURNAL OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR. 1989 Dec; 30(4):345-52.

    Third World originated in the 1950s as a political ideology and concept. As an empirical reality it is a world characterized by economic underdevelopment. Attention is beginning to focus on its cultural and human aspects, including health and health care. The 9 articles in this special issue show the application of sociology to the study of 3rd World health and health care. The articles are classified into 4 categories--social factors in disease, utilization of health services, provider-patient relationships, and organization of health services. Their relationship to research issues and methods in medical sociology is discussed. In conclusion, the World Health Organization's (WHO) "Health for ALL" program is critiqued in light of finding in the articles. 2 topics require closer sociological analysis than they have received, and these are discussed. The 1st concerns health manpower, especially the role of the physician, in relation to 3rd World health priorities. The 2nd is the place of traditional health personnel and practices within the general development of national health resources. Given the high regard for technical clinical skill that is imparted through medical education worldwide, it is not clear that 3rd World physicians can be persuaded to become health educators or coordinators for social resources, however necessary those functions may be. Even so, the Health for All agenda can switch to another priority, namely, the radical reform of medical education to produce physicians who are more strongly oriented toward goals of community health and less concerned with technical skill. (author's modified)
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