Where is ‘Public’ in the Public Health Discourse?
Journal of Health Systems. 2016 Jun 7;2(1):19–23
5 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2017
Date Written: June 7, 2016
The origin of modern public health as an academic discipline goes back to the 19th century. However, a concern towards the health of masses has always existed in all societies. The principles of public health in earlier times were guided more by the notions of the commons, wellbeing, and local knowledge. In recent times, our understanding and practice of public health is guided more by technological advances and the market forces. In such a situation, the present public health prescriptions fail to understand the importance of local knowledge systems and practices. As a consequence, people’s dependence is increasing on technologies which are accessible to a limited group of people who can afford and controlled only by the few multi-national companies and trans-nationals. Despite our commitment to decentralization, democracy, communitisation and people’s participation, public health policy planning is guided by top down approach and privatization agenda. In this context, the paper is an attempt to bring people into the public health discourse and redefine it from a people’s perspective.
Keywords: Public health, People’s participation, Decentralization
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