Measles, Politics and the Erosion of Trust

4 March, 2019

(from a news item in the New Yorker, with thanks to Global Health Now)

'Vaccination, writes Masha Gessen, is a basic political issue because its success hinges on community agreement - and vaccine refusal is a politiical act. Most US anti-vaxxers are educated, so why do they flout evidence-based recommendations of the government and health workers? Because they’ve lost trust in the US health system, Gessen argues. “The American health-care system is ill-suited to protect public health, because a profit-driven industry cannot serve as the guardian of public good.” The solution, she says, doesn’t lie in better vaccine messaging - the politics of health care need to be transformed.'

The Quote: “Measles is a quintessential political issue of the late two-thousand-teens, one that turns on the conflict between facts and lies.”


Comment (NPW): Trust in the health system, and public understanding of health and disease, is paramount, as we have seen with Ebola aggression as well as vaccine hesitancy. In the US, lack of trust is associated with deep inequality in access to health care. The same is true in many LMICs, with the added pressure of weak health systems and people's negative perceptions/experiences of health services.

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Information for Citizens, Parents and Children:

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: