Maureen Mackintosh – Health care commercialisation: a core development issue

Event Date: 16 May 2013
Room B01
Clore Management Centre,
Birkbeck, University of London
Torrington Sq
London WC1E 7HX

Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies presents:

The 3rd Annual Development Studies Lecture:

Health care commercialisation: a core development issue

Speaker: Professor Maureen Mackintosh (The Open University)

Health care is a key sector of all economies, in terms of provision of essential services, employment (including skilled employment), demand for goods and services from the rest of the economy, and international trade.  Health care furthermore has increased sharply in importance as a target for international aid.  Yet the organisation and structure of health systems remains a specialised topic, not well integrated into development studies .
This lecture argues that this situation is to the detriment of understanding of both health care and development.  It focuses on the rise in the commercialisation of health care in the 1980s and 1990s, and the continuing battle over the extent and consequences of  commercialisation in the context of renewed international commitments to universal access to health care. It argues for an approach to health care that locates it more centrally within development studies, treating it as an economic sector and also analysing its wider ethical and social impact.  Health care is a key element of the social contract between state and citizens.  The organisation, governance and capacity of health systems to care for the population reflects and shapes the nature of the state itself, and health care commercialisation responds to and feeds back into patterns of inequality and destitution.   Health care commercialisation, the lecture argues, is too important a topic to be left to health care specialists alone.

Introduction by Dr Jasmine Gideon (Birkbeck).

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