In A History of Global Health, Randall M. Packard argues that global-health initiatives have saved millions of lives but have had limited impact on the overall health of people living in underdeveloped areas, where health-care workers are poorly paid, infrastructure and basic supplies such as disposable gloves, syringes, and bandages are lacking, and little effort has been made to address the underlying social and economic determinants of ill health. Global-health campaigns have relied on the application of biomedical technologies—vaccines, insecticide-treated nets, vitamin A capsules—to attack specific health problems but have failed to invest in building lasting infrastructure for managing the ongoing health problems of local populations.
Designed to be read and taught, the book offers a critical historical view, providing historians, policy makers, researchers, program managers, and students with an essential new perspective on the formation and implementation of global-health policies and practices.
From Russia to Bengal to Palm Beach, Randall Packard’s far-ranging narrative traces the natural and social forces that help malaria spread and make it deadly. He finds that war, land development, crumbling health systems, and globalization—coupled with climate change and changes in the distribution and flow of water—create conditions in which malaria's carrier mosquitoes thrive. The combination of these forces, Packard contends, makes the tropical regions today a perfect home for the disease.
Authoritative, fascinating, and eye-opening, this short history of malaria concludes with policy recommendations for improving control strategies and saving lives.