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Medical Brigades and Global Health: Millennium Development Goals and Developing Nations

Author: MARK T. PORTMAN and EDWARD J. MARTIN
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 38 No. 1

Recently, recommendations have been made that global health initiatives change their focus from disease specific intervention to bolstering health systems and general health care. The aim of this is to ultimately increase access to primary care, clean water, education, hygiene, and prevent malnutrition, among other goals. While many major global health initiatives have followed this trend, so have many smaller scale programs including short term medical brigades. Despite a trending increase in the number of privately run short term medical brigades, until recently, little research has been done on the potential positive and negative effects that can arise from such programs. Now, guidelines have been initiated to create well-structured programs. When followed, these smaller scale initiatives can be successful in helping increase access to healthcare, sustainably strengthening communities in terms of general health. While recent legislation in the United States has addressed domestic policy in the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), the ACA should also consider some of the basic “sustainable” policies being implemented by international health care providers.

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