Bad medicine

A note from the editor

Dinyar Godrej

Puberty is a strange affair. I spent a large part of mine at the foot of our record player transfixed by a voice.

While working on this edition about healthcare and health inequality and how they are bound up with economic inequality, a verse from a song from that time, ‘All My Trials’, has been on repeat in my head. In Joan Baez’s doleful, piercing soprano, it goes: ‘If living were a thing that money could buy/ Then the rich would live and the poor would die...’

Such well-worn truths when put so simply appear little more than clichés. But inspect the complexities of the debates around the divided health of our divided world, and beneath all the intricacy there’s that bedrock of inequity that still needs breaking up.

My attention has been drawn many times by my British colleagues to what has been happening to the National Health Service (NHS) in their country. A service conceived in the spirit of providing reliable, free-at-the-point-of-delivery care to all is now suffering fragmentation and marketization. There’s even a new political party, the National Health Action party (nationalhealthaction.org.uk), with the impetus coming from healthcare professionals, launching this month to campaign for restoring the original principles of the NHS.

Speaking of party politics, in news that will be old hat by the time you read this, Hugo Chávez has been re-elected president in Venezuela (something that was accurately predicted on our website by Jody McIntyre, guest editor of last month’s edition). The country’s all-out effort to bring healthcare to marginalized communities, with members of those communities being trained up as medics, will continue. Here you will find an article about the country that pioneered this vision of care – Cuba.

In the name of equal opportunities coverage, our Worldbeater this month is about those heroes of the one per cent, the Koch brothers.
And the suspense is killing us about what kind of showing the Booker-shortlisted author Jeet Thayil, who talks robustly about the work of writing in our interview, will make. That decision will happen, annoyingly for us, just as this edition goes to the printers.

Dinyar Godrej for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

Resting for a bit, after treatment by doctors at the Daawad hospital in Eyl, Somalia, before beginning the return journey home.Frederic Courbet/Panos Pictures

Resting for a bit, after treatment by doctors at the Daawad hospital in Eyl, Somalia, before beginning the return journey home.

Frederic Courbet/Panos Pictures

Bad medicine

Inequality squeezes both how healthy we are and the healthcare we get. Time to get past it, believes Dinyar Godrej.

Buy this magazine

Leela is in her sixties and works seven nights a week.

She has been employed to look after Preeti, a woman in her eighties with dementia. Leela keeps her safe through the night. Her duties involve preparing her charge for bed, then hours of fitful half-sleep, when she springs from her mattress on the floor if Preeti wakes (she often does), the morning lavatory run, including the hand-washing of any soiled clothing and sheets, the daily bath. At nine in the morning, her shift ends.

Pre...




Features

Healthcare and inequality - THE FACTS

Healthcare and inequality - THE FACTS

A matter of life and death: the contrasting rates of mortality, access to medicine and care across the globe.

Buy this magazine

Moral medicine: the Cuban way

Moral medicine: the Cuban way

A revolutionary example of efficient and affordable healthcare, by John M Kirk and Chris Walker.

Buy this magazine

Fun and games in Indonesia – but navigating a path to a healthy future is far from child’s play for the poor.Enny Nuraheni / Reuters

Child survival - but at what cost?

In order to make a real difference to poor children’s lives, it’s not enough to save them from an early death – the agenda must shift from the humanitarian to the political, argues paediatrician Claudio Schuftan.

Buy this magazine


Web exclusives

The economic crash has brought millions of Spanish people onto the streets.Iñaki Pérez de Albéniz, under a CC License.

Spain’s brain drain

Dan Hancox on the skilled young people who, after thirty years of Spanish democracy, are finding their options increasingly limited.

Read this article


Opinion

Is there a place for GM crops in a sustainable future?

Is there a place for GM crops in a sustainable future?

Author and journalist Mark Lynas and researcher and writer Claire Robinson go head-to-head.

Buy this magazine

How not to make every vote count

How not to make every vote count

With the presidential election looming, many Americans are finding their right to vote under assault says Mark Engler.

Buy this magazine


Agenda

Juan Manuel Santos: from hawk to dove?Javier Casella/Colombia's Presidential Office/Handout/Reuters

Colombia: will peace prevail?

As guerrilla army FARC enter formal talks with government, Colombians are optimistic about an end to civil war, reports Jonathan Glennie.

Buy this magazine

Australia: gas hub threat Talhy Stotzer/AAP/Press Association Images

Australia: gas hub threat

A divided community weighs up whether to protect aboriginal lands or opt for $1.3 billion in compensation.

Buy this magazine


Regulars

Indian novelist Jeet Thayil.

Jeet Thayil: 'writing makes nothing happen'

Indian shortlisted Booker prize author speaks to Amy Hall about inspiration (overrated) and constructing an off-world station for gun-lovers.

Buy this magazine

 (top) Carnival revellers celebrate, St Georges; (bottom left to right) a historic waterfront building, St Georges; Paradise Beach, Carriacou; Carriacou’s capital, Hillsborough; a local police officer.Photographs by Zoe and Gabrielle Smith

Country Profile - Grenada

Zoe Leigh Smith reports on the tiny Caribbean island's strangling debt burden.

Buy this magazine

Still a hero? Demonstrators protesting against this year’s election results hold aloft photos of former president Nasser.Mohamed Hassan Mekhamer / Demotix

To everything there is a season

How can Egyptians make sure last year’s uprisings have a lasting legacy? Maria Golia looks forward.

Buy this magazine

Letter from Botswana: beautiful blue Illustration: Sarah John

Letter from Botswana: beautiful blue

Wame Molefhe describes her joy as the first rains chase winter away.

Buy this magazine


Film, Book & Music Reviews


Back