Democracy – The Real ‘Ghost’ in the Machine of Global Health Policy; Comment on “A Ghost in the Machine? Politics in Global Health Policy”

Document Type: Commentary

Author

Global Public Health Unit, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Abstract

Politics is not the ghost in the machine of global health policy. Conceptually, it makes little sense to argue otherwise, while history is replete with examples of individuals and movements engaging politically in global health policy. Were one looking for ghosts, a more likely candidate would be democracy, which is currently under attack by a new global health technocracy. Civil society movements offer an opportunity to breathe life into a vital, but dying, political component of global health policy.

Keywords


 

1. Bruen C, Brugha R. A Ghost in the Machine? Politics in Global Health Policy. Int J Health Policy Manag 2014; 3: 1–4. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2014.59

2. Ryle G. The Concept of Mind. 1st edition. Chicago: Hutchinson; 1949

3. Walt G. Health Policy: An Introduction to Process and Power. Johannesburg: Zed Books: 1996.

4. Buse K, Walt G, Mays N. Making Health Policy. 2nd edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press; 2012

5. MMI 2014 Statement by Medicus Mundi International to the 67th session of the World Health Assembly on agenda item 11.3, Non State Actors [internet]. Available from: http://www.medicusmundi.org/en/topics/pnfp-sector-and-global-health-initiatives/who-reform/mmi.pdf

6. IBFAN 2014 Statement by the International Baby Food Action Network to the 67th session of the World Health Assembly on agenda item 11.3, Non State Actors [internet]. http://www.medicusmundi.org/en/topics/pnfp-sector-and-global-health-initiatives/who-reform/ibfan.pdf

7. Birn AE. Making it Politic(al): closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity Through Action on the Social Determinants of Health. Social Medicine 2009; 4: 166–82.

8. Richter J. WHO Reform and Public Interest Safeguards: An Historical Perspective. Social Medicine 2012; 6: 141–50.

9. Berger JM, Kapczynski A. The Story of the TAC Case: The Potential and Limits of Socio-Economic Rights Litigation in South Africa (SSRN Scholarly Paper No. ID 1323522). Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network; 2009.

10. Gray DM. Fire in the Blood, Directed by Dylan Mohan Gray. Dartmouth Films and Films Transit; 2014.

11. Ostergard RL. The Political Economy of the South Africa–United States Patent Dispute. J World Intellect Prop 2005; 2: 875–88. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-1796.1999.tb00097.x

12. Cometto G, Ooms G, Starrs A, Zeitz P. Towards a global fund for the health MDGs? Lancet 2009; 374: 1146. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61740-2

13. Held D. Models of Democracy. 2nd Edition. Cambridge: Polity Press, Blackwell Publishers; 1996.

14. Feig C. Setting the Record Straight on WHO Funding [internet]. Foreign Affairs, 2011 November 18. Available from: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136687/christy-feig-and-sonia-shah/setting-the-record-straight-on-who-funding

15. Harmer A. Who’s funding WHO? [internet]. 2012. Available from:  http://www.globalhealthpolicy.net/?p=826

16. Costello A, Montgomery H, Watts N. Climate change: the challenge for healthcare professionals. BMJ 2013; 347: f6060. doi:10.1136/bmj.f6060