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Should the developed world should be responsible

for the health problems in the developing world?
Over the last few decades, healthcare in LEDC’s (less economically developed
countries) has taken a turn for the worse. Countries located in sub-Saharan Africa
are primarily in need of health care aid what with having only one-tenth the number of
nurses and doctors per head of population that Europe does
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, despite being more
susceptible to the harmful diseases that plague the world, in particular tropical
diseases, such as malaria and typhoid. Clearly not enough is being done by the
developed nations, examples being the superpower nations of USA, France, Russia,
UK and China, to aid these LEDC’s in their quest to improve health infrastructure
within their respective countries. However, the question still remains: should it be the
responsibility of the MEDC’s (more economically developed countries) to cater to the
needs of LEDC’s or should LEDC’s take control of their own health problems? This
report will outline arguments both for and against the statement and draw to an
ultimate judgment on who should be accountable for international health aid.
One argument in favor of the statement is about the exploitation of the poorer nations
by the wealthier countries. The British Empire, for example, exploited resources from
all countries under their control – in particular, India was exploited for its richness in
cotton, tea, opium and silk.
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Furthermore, the British also exhausted Indian revenues
to fnance an ever-expanding army - around 40% of India's wealth was spent on the
army
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to serve British purposes. Viceroy Lord Curzon, said 'As long as we rule India,
we are the greatest power in the world.”
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Evidently, the manipulation of India’s
resources limited the Indian government to only being able to spend what little wealth
they had remaining, on aspects of healthcare, such as treating tropical diseases,
whereas entire sectors of medicine and health were neglected, examples being
midwifery and disability. Not only is it the British Empire, but 4 out of 5 of the
superpowers also had their own empires (The Russian Empire, Qing Dynasty and
French Empire as well), each one exploiting the scarce resources available to
LEDC’s and thus having a long-lasting efect to this present day. The developed
nations have expanded their own countries and ofer individuals within their own
countries exceptional healthcare options (the NHS being a key one) but at the cost of
the developing world. Thus, surely it is time for the developed world to give back
what they owe these poor, sufering countries, but in the form of health care. Surely it
should be the right of these exploited nations to be given back what is owed to them?
Alternately it could be argued that these Empire’s not only contributed to improving
health infrastructure in LEDC’s but also at the expense and eforts of MEDC’s.
Research suggests that from about 1870 to 1930 Britain took about 1% of India's
wealth per year – though this is still a huge amount of money being taken from a
developing nation, it still left considerable amounts of money (99%) to be spent on
internal issues, such as prevailing health deterioration and increasing death rate due
to health related issues. Furthermore the British invested about £400 million in India
to aid with Indian development – thus it can be argued that the UK has paid back its
dues to the countries they’d exploited and therefore it should not be their
responsibility to continually provide further aid to LEDC’s. Additionally, under British
rule, public health and life expectancy increased, mainly due to improved water
supplies and the introduction of quinine treatment against malaria.
v
This not only
proves that the UK has provided more than enough healthcare aid to LEDC’s, but
also has signifcantly improved health infrastructure within developing nations; thus
for them to provide any further health care aid would be an exploitation of British
resources and therefore the LEDC’s will be in debt to the developed nations.
Additionally, it can be argued that under the United Nations, it was agreed that all
nations should try to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s), four of
which come under healthcare:
1.To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2.To reduce child mortality
3.To improve maternal health
4.To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
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The World Bank is used to fund for projects to meet these MDG’s and the money
existing in this bank sources from developed nations such as Germany and
Switzerland. In 2004 the World Bank provided $20.1 billion for 245 projects in
developing countries worldwide
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Evidently the developed nations are doing more
than their part to aid the developing world and are donating billions of pounds to the
bank to ensure that these developing nations have a better chance at being able to
improve their healthcare infrastructure. However, the amount of money being spent
on the developing nations will require $120bn more to be spent – this has been
deemed to be unafordable and the developed nations cannot aford to spend any
more, especially considering the fnancial troubles of recession that many developed
nations are facing.
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Furthermore, the UN has had many successes with regards to achieving the MDG’s.
• The MDG target of reducing extreme poverty by half was reached fve years
ahead of the deadline in 2015 (MDG1).
• The target of halving the number of people without proper access to clean
and safe sources of drinking water has been met (MDG7).
• There has been progress in reducing the number of children and mothers who
die from preventable causes (MDG5).
• The number of people dying around the world from tuberculosis and malaria
has fallen and there is now more treatment available for people living with HIV
(MDG 6).
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Financial aid from developed nations, especially contributions and donations to the
World Bank, has been vital in achieving these successes. MDG 6 is one of the most
important and universal reasons for the increasing death rate in third world nations –
the funding of available treatment, combined with the sponsors and volunteers sent
out by the wealthier countries have led to an increase in mortality rates and have
reestablished the basic human right of the right to live.
On the other hand, the World Bank efectively functions as a bank – this means that
though they provide low interest-rate loans, these third world nations are still in future
debt to their sponsors. Essentially, this means that the LEDC’s are efectively paying
for these projects themselves, with an added interest rate. Thus, the MEDC’s are not
aiding LEDC’s fnancially – rather they are further exploiting the developing nations
fnancial weaknesses and thereby ensuring that these LEDC’s will remain in a state
of permanent fnancial paralysis and will be unable to improve the health
infrastructure in their respective countries. MEDC’s have not truly been aiding
healthcare in LEDC’s and therefore they should be trying harder and in more ways, to
improve the health infrastructure within the less wealthy nations.
Moreover, there is a lack of healthcare workers within the LEDC’s mainly due to
immigration to MEDC’s. This means that the wealthier countries are further
worsening the healthcare infrastructure by recruiting doctors and nurses and other
medical professionals, from the LEDC’s to work in the MEDC’s. For example:
Moreover, there is a lack of healthcare workers within the LEDC’s mainly due to
immigration to MEDC’s. This means that the wealthier countries are further
worsening the healthcare infrastructure by recruiting doctors and nurses and other
medical professionals, from the LEDC’s to work in the MEDC’s. For example:
• Only 5,000 doctors graduate in Africa each year (a third of the number that
graduate in America).
• Only 50 of 600 doctors trained in Zambia have remained in the country – the
rest have migrated to wealthier nations with the promise of higher salary.
• There are more Malawian doctors in Manchester than Malawi.
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The MEDC’s are efectively stealing the already limited resources that LEDC’s have –
this is not only unfair to the developing nations but it has also led to millions of lives
being lost every year.
Conclusively, I believe that MEDC’s have done a lot to improve the health
infrastructure in LEDC’s, both fnancially and actively sending out volunteers and
trained doctors. The developed nations have invested billions of pounds towards the
improvement of sanitation, water treatment and disease treatment (HIV, malaria), and
have been successful in achieving some of the MDG’s. Finally, MEDC’s have repaid
the resources they took (it should be noted that most MEDC’s did not have empires
and are still large contributors to LEDC’s) and it is ultimately up to LEDC’s to take
charge of their own internal healthcare problems and efectively plan to solve health
infrastructure.
i
http://www.economist.com/node/3423186
ii
http://asianhistory.about.com/od/colonialisminasia/p/profbritraj.htm
iii
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/empire/g2/cs4/background.htm
iv
From World War to Cold War: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the International History of the 1940s
v
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/empire/g2/cs4/background.htm
vi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Development_Goals
vii
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTABOUTUS/0,,contentMDK:20040558~menuP
K:34559~pagePK:34542~piPK:36600,00.html
viii
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2012/jan/23/whos-going-to-
pay-for-mdgs
ix
http://www.unicef.org.uk/UNICEFs-Work/What-we-do/i!!enniu"-#eve!op"ent-
$oa!s/%re-the-$oa!s-&eing-achieved/
x
http://www.economist.com/node/3423186