The authors seek to conceptualize the assumptions underlying the theoretical
models of medical modernization. They note that the implantation of a rational
and scientific health care system has often meant simply copying western
The application of medical modernization models is examined in relation to
marginal and disadvantaged groups in the United States as well as developing
countries. The authors attempt to identify the general characteristics of these
programmes and to evaluate the outcomes.
The main outcomes of the transplantation of this model are seen as:
a heavy accent on curative as opposed to preventive medicine which, due to
the high costs of training and equipping specialized personnel has meant an
astronomic increase in health spending.
a medical “brain drain” towards richer countries or regions.
a tendancy for the distribution of health care to be oriented towards the
higher-income, highly industrialized segments of the society.
a deepening of political and economic inequalities.
For the purposes of comparison, the authors briefly examine another model
which they term “health development”. This models indicates that a general
improvement in the health of the population depends as much on economic,
political, ideological and technological factors as health care itself. Drawing on
examples from China and Cuba, the authors note the importance of a more
equitable distribution of goods, power and participation in the process of
improving health. They conclude by stressing the necessity to carefully wegh
the effects of importing modern medical practices.
DISCUSSION PART ONE
For this discussion, we will modify one of the short answer questions at the end of this weeks’ reading, so that we may apply the lens of medicine to the idea of social change. First, Google “modernization in medicine.”
DISCUSSION PART TWO
Do you think that modernization in medicine is good or bad or something else? How does modernization in medicine connect to social change? Explain, using examples.