Technical Fixes and Other Problems in Saving Lives in the World's Poorest Countries

Research paper by Michael R Reich

Indexed on: 01 Mar '88Published on: 01 Mar '88Published in: Journal of Public Health Policy


Public health problems involving populations and communities in the world's poorest countries rarely can be resolved through technical approaches alone. Four types of impediments keep technological measures from having their maximal impact: the inherent limitations of technology; economic constraints on implementation; social and cultural obstacles to adoption; and the political processes of the health system. Technology thus is necessary but not sufficient to save lives in the world's poorest countries. The task requires coping with profound problems of persistent poverty, social change, cultural evolution, and political conflict. Several of the world's poorest countries have achieved remarkable advances in health, despite these multiple constraints. Their success stemmed from exceptional government expenditures and promotion of education, health services, and nutrition. Such efforts require the national mobilization of political and social energies on health and educational goals.