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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

International health became an important activity of governments of industrialised and a few low-income countries (LICs) during the second half of the nineteenth century. Initially concentrated on improving, coordinating, and standardising quarantines; isolation of the sick in ports; and maritime health regulations, by the turn of the twentieth century it became an activity carried out by specialised institutions and a network of experts. Two socio-medical approaches coexisted in international health during the twentieth century. One was technocratic, illustrated by the malaria eradication campaign launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the 1950s, which relied heavily on technology. The other was exemplified by the primary healthcare proposal made by WHO and UNICEF in the late 1970s, which prioritised a broad prevention perspective and the use of public health as a tool of social reform.

Keywords: history, international health, global health, World Health Organization, primary healthcare

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