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July 7, 1975

Health in the Developing World

Author Affiliations

Lincoln, Rl

JAMA. 1975;233(1):22-23. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260010024010

To the Editor.—  Dr. Tavassoli's article (230:1527, 1974), which stresses the inability of modern medicine to improve the health of people in the developing world, demonstrates the important point that physicians acquire knowledge in the fields of history, sociology, and social anthropology, and must increasingly apply this knowledge to health care provision. The author cites the following reasons for the failure: (1) much of modern medicine is irrelevant; (2) medical progress is too far removed from the greater number of the population for them to be impressed, and they may even distrust it or hold it in contempt; (3) training does not suit the needs and the problems and physicians, so the trained tend to migrate; (4) there is lack of infrastructure; and (5) the majority of the population is rural, widely scattered, and not easily reached by modern technology. He sees further hope in the Chinese system of pyramidal