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Tropical Medicine and International Health. 2006 Mar; 11(3):255-257.A lavishly sponsored Global Health Summit conference in New York organized in early November by Time magazine included a panel discussion on the pertinent issue of whether global health can be good for business,1 and in the process highlighted many of the contradictions confronting health care providers, policy makers and planners the world over. Attempts to graft compassion onto the root stock of global capitalism have been only partially successful, if at all. Certainly none of the big players in the $3 trillion plus health care industry - whether they be pharmaceutical corporations, equipment manufacturers, hospital chains or health insurers - has been able to demonstrate any long term or sustained commitment to the delivery of health care services to the billions of people in low income countries who currently lack access to them. Many of the 'Global Public Private Partnerships' favoured by the WHO appear to serve largely as public relations campaigns for the private sector 'partners' and also as a means to help them to secure and potentially expand their longer-term market for drugs and vaccines. Meanwhile some of the largest donors supporting such partnerships come from outside of the health care industry altogether - most notably Bill and Melinda Gates, whose benevolent billions also help make Microsoft's cosmic profits seem more socially acceptable. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., PAHO, Pan American Sanitary Bureau/Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 1985. xix, 265 p. (Official Document No. 201)Efforts to meet the goal of health for all by the year 2000 have been hampered by the internal and external problems faced by many countries of the Americas. The pressures of external debt have been accompanied by a reduction in the resources allocated to social sector programs, including health programs. In addition, the conflict in Central America has constrained solutions to subregional problems. The health sector suffers from uncoordinated services, lack of trained personnel, and waste. Thus 30-40% of the population do not have access to basic health services. In 1984, the governments in the region, together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), undertook projects in 5 action areas: new approaches and technology, development, intra- and intersectoral linkages, joint activities by groups of countries, mobilization of national resources and external financing, and preparation of PAHO to meet the needs of these processes. New approaches include the expansion of epidemiological capabilities and practices, the use of low-cost infant survival strategies, the improvement of rural water supplies, and the development of domestic technology. Interorganizational linkages are aimed at eliminating duplication and filling in gaps. Ministers of health and directors of social security programs are working together to rationalize the health sector and extend coverage of services. Similarly, countries have grouped to deal with common problems and offer coordinated solutions. The mobilization of national resources involves shifting resources into the health field and increasing their efficiency and effectiveness by setting priorities. External resources are recommended if they supplement national efforts and are short-term in nature. In order to enhance these strategies, PAHO has increased the managerial and operating capacity of its central and field offices. This has required consolidating programs, retraining staff, and instituting information systems to monitor activities and budgets. The report summarizes health indicators and activities by country, for all nations under PAHO.