We are pleased to publish this response to our recent editorials on the situation in the Mediterranean region. We encourage more of our readers to comment on our newsletter. We will publish them as comments or as standalone blog post on our website.
I received several IHP network letters voicing indignation with regards to the events in the Arab world. I of course share this feeling.
However, I am concerned by the divorce of the vast majority of health policy papers from real politics and economics – as if these weren’t key determinants of policy design and implementation. For instance, studies of Arab health policies generally overlook the dictatorship nature of governements. To be convinced, consider that rulers and economic stakeholders are exceptionally named in scientific papers.
As a consequence, the public health community does not contribute to the exercise of human rights in LMIC, in particular to the right to access decent health care.
Why is it so? Real world actors are not mentioned in health publications (with rare exceptions such as Int J Health Serv) because editors of health policy journals fear economic retaliation. By experience, scientists know that manuscripts treating health policy as a mere ‘technical’, disembodied issue – not an object of human sciences analysis – are much more easily accepted. However, resistence is possible and does not necessarily implies that independent scientists cannot have any influence.
I would appreciate the submission of this viewpoint to your readers.
Professor of public health