Letters

How the cycle of poverty and ill health can be broken

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7142.1456 (Published 09 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1456
  1. Rodrigo Guerrero, Professor,
  2. Michel Jancloes, Director,
  3. John D Martin, Associate director,
  4. Andrew Haines, Professor of primary care,
  5. Dan Kaseje, General director,
  6. Martin P Wasserman, Secretary
  1. School of Public Health, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia
  2. Division of Intensified Cooperation with Countries and Peoples in Greatest Need, World Health Organisation, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland
  3. Royal Free and University College London Schools of Medicine, London NW3 2PF
  4. Community Initiatives Support Services International, Nairobi, Kenya
  5. Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, United States

    EDITOR—To paraphrase a well known remark—wars are too serious to be entrusted to generals—public health, especially among poor people in developing countries and in the inner cities of industrialised countries, is too serious to be left to doctors and nurses alone.

    We say this quite deliberately as medical doctors on the staff of the World Health Organisation, of the Maryland department of health and mental hygiene, of universities, and of non-governmental organisations in Britain, Colombia, and Kenya. Our conviction is based on many years of work in the field in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, as well as in inner cities of the developed countries of Europe and North America. The number one health problem is poverty. For the poorest countries, the health sector alone cannot ensure better health even if it were able to function at maximum effectiveness. We have to accept that we can no longer deal with health …

    View Full Text

    Sign in

    Log in through your institution

    Free trial

    Register for a free trial to thebmj.com to receive unlimited access to all content on thebmj.com for 14 days.
    Sign up for a free trial

    Subscribe