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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: August 2018

8 - Health care and health



  • What is the globally dominant form of health care organisation? How does it work?
  • What is the most effective form of health care in terms of advancing the health of most of the world’s peoples? How does it work?
  • What are the major social dynamics responsible for the prevailing patterns of health care both within and between countries globally?
  • Iraq, 1950s

    In the 1950s, archaeologists found a traumatised Neanderthal skeleton in northern Iraq in the Shanidar caves. Their examination of the remains showed that it was the skeleton of a man who had lived between 40 000 and 115 000 years ago and who had begun life with a stunted arm, a large part of it which he had lost some time later. It is likely that without the use of both arms the man had used his mouth for some tasks, such as scraping or cutting – because his teeth were very severely ground down. He had also lost two front teeth, probably in another accident. At some point in this life from thousands of millennia ago, something or somebody had delivered a sharp blow to the top of the man’s head … This was accompanied by another, harder blow that had caused the left side of his face to be shattered, most probably destroying his sight on this side as well. Somehow, he had struggled on long enough to develop severe and crippling arthritis. ‘[A]round his fortieth birthday the roof over his cave hearth collapsed, ending his saga and his troubles.’ (Wood: 1979: 22)