Medical Journal Myopia Regarding Third World Health Care

In a Pajamas Media piece Dalrymple has some fun with the language used in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine:
The authors of the editorial suggest that people like the Zimbabwean physicians migrate because of “push and pull” factors, or carrot and stick. With the mealy-mouthed delicacy of the politically-correct diplomat and careerist bureaucrat, they delicately refrain from describing the stick in any detail. The nearest they come to doing so is the following: “unstable working environments.” This reminds me a little of the Emperor Hirohito description of the dropping of the atom bombs: “The war has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage.”
With regard to Zimbabwe, the authors see reason for optimism:

In a draft national policy currently awaiting parliamentary approval, Zimbabwe addresses factors contributing to health workforce shortages; supports mechanisms and processes for stakeholder coordination and collaboration; and defines stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities in ensuring timely financing, implementation, and monitoring of national human resources for health and in promoting the development and retention of the health workforce.

Have the authors ever been to Africa in general, and Zimbabwe in particular? And if they have, did they ever see anything from anywhere other than through the tinted windows of an air-conditioned official car? Here again one cannot help but think in analogies, this time with Beatrice and Sidney Webb, who read the Stalin Constitution for the Soviet Union with minute attention (coming to the conclusion that it was the most democratic in the world), and every official statistic ever to emerge from Moscow, and then wrote a vast tome about the Soviet Union including everything they had read, missing only the twenty or thirty million deaths that were taking place there while they read it.

4 thoughts on “Medical Journal Myopia Regarding Third World Health Care

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