Chapter 4 notes

International Development Studies
Course Code
Anne- Emanuelle Birn

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Models for understanding Health and Disease
Three basic approaches for explaining how health and illness occur
Biomedical model
- Views health and illness at an individual level
- Health is understood in terms of absence of disease rather than as an
integrated sense of well being.
- It is a curative and preventive approach
- Much of the appeal in this approach come from dramatic technological
advances in medical treatment over the last century such as surgery.
- The biomedical approach will ask the patient to take medical drugs instead
of changing his behavior to a healthier one. (Bus Driver example)
Behavioral Model
-Views health and illness primarily as consequence of individual or
household actions and beliefs.
-Results either as a reward for healthy living or an outcome for poor lifestyle
- Primarily focuses on changing of personal attitudes through education and
social counseling in order to achieve desirable health outcomes
- According to this approach a patient should make better health choices and
take care of the body by taking proper rest instead of getting drugged up
(Bus Driver example)
Political Economy model
-Considers the political, social, cultural and economic contexts in which
disease and illness arise
-Also examines the ways in which societal structures interact with particular
conditions that lead to good or ill health
-This approach views health as a function of linked determinants that
operate at multiple levels: individual, household, community, workplace,
social capital, nation and global political.
- These determinants need to addressed in order to improve health
conditions, through public policy that improves working conditions,
transportation, medical and social care etc.
-has the greatest explanatory capacity out of the three models.
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- Political Economy framework also explains if the argument is healthier or
Please Read Fig. 4-2, Pg. 138
Political Economy of Health Approach
Major beliefs/tenets
-According to this approach economic forces largely determine social
- Economic power correlates with social and political power
- This approach analyzes the ways in which political, economic and social
structures affect and interact with health conditions in local national and
international contexts.
- its based on the notion that political and economic factors are intertwined
with individual and social factors
- In sum the political economy of health approach uncovers how personal,
household, social, political and economic conditions are related to producing
particular health outcomes
Key analytic questions for a political economy approach to social (including
international health) inquiry
See table 4-1 Pg. 143
Using the Political Economy of Health Approach to Understand Health
Pg-147-148, Table 4-3 and Table 4-2
Phases and models of Development
What is Development?
-Development has no universal definition
-Today we tend to think development in terms of a range of social and
economic activities within and across countries, but historically development
ideas and practices have been closely linked with foreign assistance in terms
of aid from industrialized countries
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