Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

The No-Nonsense Guide to World Health

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

The No-Nonsense Guide to World Health

Article excerpt

The No-Nonsense Guide to World Health Shereen Usdin, Toronto: New Internationalist Publications Ltd., 2007; 144 pp., CAD $16.00

This brief primer provides an overview of: the major health problems facing the world; the effects of macro level trends in globalization, politics, and economics in relation to health; and the relationship between health and power. It is easy to follow for the uninitiated, and serves as a good summary for the more seasoned.

Politics is clearly the focus of the book. The focus is on macro-level issues such as human rights, gender rights, and structural factors (such as trade and patents) that influence health. Each chapter provides a review of the effects of landmark agreements. Chapter 2, on globalization, reviews the effects of the World Trade Organization and its trade agreements, debt and structural adjustment policies. Chapter 3, on the politics of patents, is a strong case for the adverse effects on the health status of people in poor countries as the result of WTO general agreements on trade and tariffs (GATTS) and agreements on intellectual property rights (TRIPS). Chapter 4, on the politics of gender, refines this discussion to demonstrate the effects on women in particular. Chapter 5 (the emergence of old and new epidemics) is the weakest in the book. …

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