Health, Population, and Economic Development

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Science  11 Aug 1967:
Vol. 157, Issue 3789, pp. 651-657
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3789.651


Health as a basic human value is particularly important to people in the developing world. Rates of economic development lower than had been hoped for and ever more steeply rising population growth have precipitated a reaction against public health programs. Among economists, agriculturalists, and even health professionals the philosophy arose that one should "hold back" on using modern weapons against disease because they are "too effective." To satisfy the recognized popular demand, simple and relatively ineffective measures of curative medicine could be substituted. It was said that the emphasis should be, instead, on agriculture, community development, education, and industrialization and that family planning should be pushed as a separate program. Documentation presented here sharply challenges such a point of view. No segment of the total development process can be effective without the other sectors.