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Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2011 Sep;25(3):611-22, ix. doi: 10.1016/j.idc.2011.05.004.

Poverty, global health, and infectious disease: lessons from Haiti and Rwanda.

Author information

1
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Economics, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard University, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA. malsan@fas.harvard.edu

Abstract

Poverty and infectious diseases interact in complex ways. Casting destitution as intractable, or epidemics that afflict the poor as accidental, erroneously exonerates us from responsibility for caring for those most in need. Adequately addressing communicable diseases requires a biosocial appreciation of the structural forces that shape disease patterns. Most health interventions in resource-poor settings could garner support based on cost/benefit ratios with appropriately lengthy time horizons to capture the return on health investments and an adequate accounting of externalities; however, such a calculus masks the suffering of inaction and risks eroding the most powerful incentive to act: redressing inequality.

PMID:
21896362
PMCID:
PMC3168775
DOI:
10.1016/j.idc.2011.05.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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