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A History of Global Health

Interventions into the Lives of Other Peoples

Over the past century, hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested in programs aimed at improving health on a global scale. Given the enormous scale and complexity of these lifesaving operations, why do millions of people in low-income countries continue to live without access to basic health services, sanitation, or clean water? And why are deadly diseases like Ebola able to spread so quickly among populations?

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.

About the Author

Randall M. Packard is the William H. Welch Professor and director of the Institute of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria and White Plague, Black Labor: Tuberculosis and the Political Economy of Health and Disease in South Africa.

Reviews

"Frequent epidemics of yellow fever, the first disease threatening to destroy continents, and the more recent scourges of HIV/AIDS, SARS, and Ebola show Packard’s scope in enlightening readers who are rarely likely to be so captivated by a university publication. This is a powerful book demanding substantial time and attention."

- Manhattan Book Review

"A History of Global Health gives us an unrivalled view from within the belly of the beast, revealing the physiology and pathologies of the organism."

- Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences

"Informative and entertaining... Old-timers will enjoy a romp through the eras that marked their careers, and those starting out will learn how we got to where we are and have a gauntlet thrown down on where we ought to go."

- Population and Development Review

"A History of Global Health is an excellent addition to the medical historiography. Its strengths lie in its ambitious scope, meticulous research, and convincing arguments. Compellingly written, Packard sets out a critical history of global health initiatives that both historians and global health policy-makers not only should, but need, to read. Packard’s book will no doubt remain required reading for some decades to come."

- Canadian Bulletin of Medical History

"Meanwhile, Packard’s exceptional History of Global Health comes very close to this ideal. It is by far the best clear and profound panorama of global health to date. It will be an inspiration and a tool for policy makers, public health scholars, and historians of medicine."

- Bulletin of the History of Medicine

Endorsements

"For a long time now, historians have been looking for a book that takes a big picture view of the emergence of global health. This is that book, and Packard is the ideal person to have written it. An impressively lucid synthesis of several disparate bodies of literature, A History of Global Health provides readers with a richer repertoire from which to evaluate health problems and campaigns."

- Joanna Radin, Yale School of Medicine

"Packard argues convincingly that the best model for understanding global health is to see it in terms of a ‘North-South’ division of labor. This excellent book uses historically observable patterns to challenge students and practitioners of global health to think of the future."

- Steven Palmer, University of Windsor, coauthor of Medicine and Public Health in Latin America: A History

"Randall Packard’s brilliant and sweeping book brims with new insights and provocative claims, all masterfully researched and compellingly argued. A History of Global Health: Interventions into the Lives of Other Peoples is also charged with a moral force that crackles and glows from its subtitle to the last paragraph of its conclusion."

- Theodore M. Brown, PhD, Professor of History and of Medical Humanities, Charles E. and Dale L. Phelps Professor of Public Health and Policy, University of Rochester, Rochester New York, History Editor, American Journal of Public Health

"A penetrating, even damning, account of mainstream international and global health across the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Once again, Randall Packard has produced a must-read volume for specialists and a broader public alike."

- Anne-Emanuelle Birn, University of Toronto, author of Marriage of Convenience: Rockefeller International Health and Revolutionary Mexico

"Packard provides the historical and socio-cultural context for the development of what we now call ‘global health,’ a thread that ties Virchow to Gorgas to C.E.A. Winslow to Marmot. This book makes a strong case for and provides solid evidence of the need to balance a biomedical perspective with an appreciation of social determinants to maximize sound global health practice."

- Jeffrey Koplan, MD, MPH, Vice President for Global Health, Emory University

"If all books hailed as required reading really were, no one would get anything done. But practitioners of medicine and public health, and tightfisted guardians of the shrinking public purse, should all set down headlamps and flashlights and blinkers to read Randall Packard's powerful new exploration, a history of global health. Packard swivels his piercing searchlight on the specific—tuberculosis and AIDS in Southern Africa, Ebola in west Africa, malaria across it, as well as debates about what to do about these plagues of the poor and the malnutrition and high rates of fertility that were held to be leading to a "population crisis"—to the general, cutting through the fog of intentions good and bad of what is now widely termed global health. His riveting synthesis is not a study of human motivations but rather a sweeping review of the historical roots of attempts to address, with varied motivations and even more varied outcomes, pathogens and pathogenic forces still reaping a grim harvest among the poor, and not just in Africa. In doing so, Packard offers a comprehensive look at the origins of public health's primary transnational institutions, the debates that churned within and beyond them, and campaigns that failed or sometimes succeeded. Packard writes not to cheer us, but rather to remind us that history never starts when we say so: new epidemics are less new than noticed; innovation in medicine and public health is more aptly understood as a series of fits and starts; novel funding mechanisms and global institutions designed to address runaway epidemics are built from rusty and fissured colonial debris; avowed motivations are rarely as unimpeachable as advertised but rooted, rather, in neoliberal ideologies of long duration. But A history of global health is no catalogue of woe. It's result is to instruct and inspire and illuminate. No historian shines a brighter torch on the mortal dramas of our day—or of the dark night that preceded it."

- Paul Farmer, MD, Harvard University and Partners In Health
Johns Hopkins University Press
From 13 To 17

9781421420325 : a-history-of-global-health-packard
Hardback
432 Pages
$65.00 USD
9781421420332 : a-history-of-global-health-packard
Paperback / softback
432 Pages
$37.95 USD
9781421420349 : a-history-of-global-health-packard
Electronic book text
432 Pages
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Other Titles by Randall M. Packard

The Making of a Tropical Disease

Randall M. Packard
Oct 2011 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$30.95 USD - Hardback
$27.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$27.00 USD - Electronic book text

Emerging Illnesses and Society

edited by Randall M. Packard, Peter J. Brown, Ruth Berkelman, and Howard Frumkin
Sep 2004 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$60.00 USD - Hardback

Other Titles in MEDICAL / History

Healing with Poisons

Yan Liu
Jun 2021 - University of Washington Press
$95.00 USD - Hardback
$30.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Behind the Mirror

Jeanne Simons, Sabine Oishi, foreword by James C. Harris, MD
Apr 2021 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

The Narcotic Farm

Nancy D. Campbell, James P. Olsen, JP Olsen, Luke Walden, foreword by Sam Quinones
Mar 2021 - South Limestone, an imprint of University Press of Kentucky
$27.95 USD - Hardback
$27.95 USD - Electronic book text
$27.95 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in History of medicine

Behind the Mirror

Jeanne Simons, Sabine Oishi, foreword by James C. Harris, MD
Apr 2021 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

Riverblindness in Africa

Bruce Benton, foreword by James D. Wolfensohn
Nov 2020 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$49.95 USD - Hardback
$49.95 USD - Electronic book text

In Search of Sexual Health

Elliott Bowen
Sep 2020 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$49.95 USD - Hardback
$49.95 USD - Electronic book text