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Neglected tropical disease and emerging infectious disease: an analysis of the history, promise and constraints of two worldviews

Stephenson, Niamh
Published in Global public health. 2014, vol. 9, no. 9, p. 995-1007
Abstract Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are medical terms referring to a group of diseases, yet they are simultaneously socio-political constructs (EID and NTD). When viewed as such, public health interest in EID has been criticised as prioritising free market, Global North interests. This paper asks if the recent turn to NTD, which directs attention and resources to 'the bottom billion' of the world's population, addresses the limitations of focusing on EID. Our approach involves comparing the specific socio-political framing, or 'worldview' of NTD, with that of EID. We examine the distinct history, rationales, morals, political and economic tensions and loci of power entailed in each worldview. This analysis suggests that efforts to foreground NTD constitute a site where humanitarian and biomedical industry actors and actions are increasingly blurred. We examine whether the NTD worldview constitutes a break with or a new version of a free market approach to global health, and whether it reworks or solidifies paternalistic Global North-South relations. We consider some of the limits of work on NTD to date, suggesting that although the NTD worldview does not escape the neo-colonial history of global health, it can actualise it under a different form.
Keywords Communicable Disease Control/organization & administrationCommunicable Diseases, Emerging/epidemiologyDrug IndustryGlobal HealthHealth PolicyHealth PrioritiesHumansNeglected Diseases/epidemiologyPoliticsPublic HealthTropical MedicineWorld Health Organization
PMID: 25096397
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Research group Groupe Jean-Michel Gaspoz (23)
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JACKSON, Yves-Laurent Julien, STEPHENSON, Niamh. Neglected tropical disease and emerging infectious disease: an analysis of the history, promise and constraints of two worldviews. In: Global public health, 2014, vol. 9, n° 9, p. 995-1007. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2014.941297 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:76783

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Deposited on : 2015-11-04

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