Utah Valley Global Health Group

A blog about global health for those living in Utah Valley and their friends.

The Role of International Intervention in Development by Liz West

Posted by benjamincrookston on April 9, 2008

Public health implications are no longer confined only to individual nation. Historical exploitation and coercion has left many nations not just undeveloped but underdeveloped. This means that poverty has been perpetuated by the actions of other nations. Therefore, with the economic, political and technological power that is possessed by developed nations, the question often arises as to the role of multi-lateral and bi-lateral institutions and aid agencies in foreign intervention programs.
To implement any program with social and demographic consequences in another nation requires an understanding of the political, cultural, economic, and social structure to ensure sensitive and beneficial conduct. Any broad- scale program will require governmental relationships to ensure friendly foreign relations and thus not undermining trust. Whilst it may seem that developed nations have the ‘solutions’ to the ‘problems’ of poverty and the lack of access to health care, it must be remembered that it is only through the participation of the people and the use of local community initiative and resources can any program can be successful and sustainable. It is important to treat everyone with respect, honouring their values, culture and traditions, and focus on the whole person as an individual, not as a passive vessel of ill-health or poverty.
Relationships with both the government and the community leaders are very important in achieving success because legitimacy is one of the greatest challenges of outside initiatives. By putting it in the hands of the locals, however, will come a greater sense of ownership and responsibility on follow- ups and universal distribution. Sustainable health care is not just about vaccinating against something, but building a network of support founded on local wisdom and culture.
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3 Responses to “The Role of International Intervention in Development by Liz West”

  1. chads said

    Agreed, Liz. I’m currently reading “Just and Lasting Change: When communities own their futures” by Carl Taylor. Highly Recommended. I’ll post a review as soon as I finish it.

  2. Liz, very intriguing post. I agree that relationships with both the government and the community leaders are vital to the success of health program but that it is imperative to include the locals to ensure that the health system can survive.

  3. Dan Colyar said

    I particularly agree with the statement towards the end discussing the sense of ownership when giving the local individuals the power to affect their own health. I feel that too many times we try to solve problems instead of working with people to teach them to be self sufficient. For us it is our actions more than our words that will have the greater influence on how well global health issues are addressed.

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