Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Sacrificing the WHO to the Highest Bidder

Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Sacrificing the WHO to the Highest Bidder

Article excerpt

Sacrificing the WHO to the Highest Bidder. Edited by Theodore H MacDonald. Published by Radcliffe Publishing, 2008. Hardback, 286pp. ISBN 978- 1-846192-52-4. Price £29.95.

Theodore MacDonald's book, Sacrificing the WHO to the Highest Bidder, is a provocative work confronting a critical topic: the failure of the UN agencies, and more specifically of the World Health Organization (WHO), to fulfill their mandate of promoting health as a human right. The author has no doubts about the culprit: the advent of neoliberalism and structural adjustment programs and the disproportionate power of the IMF, World Bank and WTO within the UN system. The book offers important insights about the geopolitical changes affecting the global economy since the end of the World War II and how these changes have affected the underlying principles of global health promotion. In particular, the book discusses how the ideology of neoliberalism, or free market fundamentalism, has actually affected the policies and practices of the WHO. As the author explains, one of the outcomes of the neoliberal crusade has been to modify the WHO's primary health care approach toward a more 'business-friendly' vision of health promotion. Indeed, since the neoliberal 'hijacking' of the WHO, health has no longer been viewed as a human right, but a commodity to buy and sell in the marketplace. …

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