Revista Peruana de Medicina Experimental y Salud Pública   |  June 9, 2008

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In practice, health has largely remained the domain of medical and health professionals who have examined health and ill-health in biomedical terms of the presence or absence of disease. Such dichotomization divorces health from the social context—the social and power relations—in which a person lives. We argue that the gross inequalities and inequities in health status within and among countries at the beginning of the Twenty-first Century make it clear that health cannot remain simply a biomedical concept, but must be expanded to incorporate the insights of other disciplines, and in particular those of human rights. Never has it been more crucial for future providers to be educated in a broader paradigm of health. We cannot claim that we are training “good doctors”—or good nurses, midwives or technicians—until we are using a model of medical education that considers not just biological factors but also those factors that determine social status and regards health as a fundamental human right.

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