Protecting Workers' Health in the Third World: National and International Strategies

Protecting Workers' Health in the Third World: National and International Strategies

Protecting Workers' Health in the Third World: National and International Strategies

Protecting Workers' Health in the Third World: National and International Strategies

Synopsis

This highly authoritative volume focuses sorely needed attention on the problems and policies associated with Third World workers and occupation-linked health conditions. The writers identify major obstacles that block effective implementation of occupational health and safety measures in developing countries and provide examples of successful steps taken to improve workers' health environment. National and international strategies are proposed to improve health even as the countries struggle to industrialize, adapt to new technologies, and advance their economies.

Excerpt

Dr. Taro Takemi's basic concept of occupational health sprang from his deep concern about the survival of mankind and other organisms on Earth. His theory about a new scientific approach to survival, or the science of seizon and survival order, forms the core of a comprehensive health care plan which he considered the social application of medical science.

Dr. Takemi outlined these ideas in his address, "Characteristics of Man's Life Cycle in the Development and Allocation of Medical Resources," at the World Medical Association Follow-Up Committee on Development and Allocation of Medical Care Resouces, held in 1981 in Tokyo. He first drew attention to the implications of industrialization for the survival of the human species. He saw Earth as analogous to a living cell whose metabolism was becoming more complicated than it had been. In the past, the cellular membrane (that is, the surface of the earth) was easily repaired because civilization was based on an agricultural society where recycling depended on the natural process. Today, however, this membrane is being destroyed by our industrialized society. The essential recycling cannot be resumed without careful technology and a new predictive economic approach. Industrialization has also changed the survival order through environmental pollution, industrial accidents, and unhealthy working conditions.

In considering survival, Dr. Takemi emphasized the importance of an organic amalgamation of medicine and economics not only in Japan but also on an international scale. He wanted to see the concepts of biomedicine and bioethics applied to improve the environment and the workplace. In his view, biomedicine implies a context in which humankind and health are defined as a socio-biological organism, while bioethics provides the basis of support for an individual or group from the viewpoint of medical care demand. Occupational health care should, accordingly, be organized as an independent subsystem within the total health care system not only on a horizontal basis but also on a vertical one, and it . . .

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