COMMISSION ON SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH (2007) Civil Society Report First Draft. UNSPECIFIED.
One of the founding fathers of modern public health, Rudolph Virchow, asked: “Do we not always find the diseases of the populace traceable to defects in society”?1 He is known to have asserted, further: “Politics is but Medicine at a large scale”. A hundred and fifty years later we continue to be reminded of Virchow’s comments. We continue to seek out “defects in society” that need to be plugged if Health is to be given its rightful place. Today, more so than ever before, we are reminded that, ultimately, politics played out a global scale determines whether people live or die. Civil Society welcomes the opportunity provided by the dynamics set in motion as a result of the constitution of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) to explore these issues in detail. Civil Society has been consistent in arguing for an approach to Health that echoes Virchow’s famous words. We have watched with dismay the reduction of Health into medical services, and medical services into a serious of technological “fixes”, designed at best to ameliorate individual diseases rather than to cure glaring defects in human society that give rise to such diseases. The dismay has often turned to distress and even anger as we have watched the advances in human endeavour being frittered away at the doorstep of avarice and greed on a global scale.
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