Essay Collection in The Lancet

Posted on June 15, 2021

Revitalising Global Social Medicine

What is global social medicine? This collection of essays, arising from collaborations between social medicine programmes and practitioners around the world, seeks to revitalise the field of social medicine as a way to affirm a health agenda that promotes human rights and social justice (Pentecost et al., 2021). Béhague and Ortega (2021) investigate the COVID-19 pandemic in the Brazilian favelas, exploring the importance of mutual aid in coordinating a response following neglect from President Jair Bolsanaro’s government. Adams, Garcia and Jones (2021) argue for an environment-focused global social medicine approach to climate change disasters, including recognising the uneven distribution of risk, paying direct attention to caregiving, expanding the conceptual timeframe of disaster response, and the need for physicians to connect with local organisations. An exploration of different ways in which the origins, rise and treatment of depression are framed in the specific sociopolitical contexts of China, Myanmar and Japan form the basis of Kitanaka, Ecks and Wu (2021)’s essay. Mobile health (mHealth) has been a focus of global health recently, Sawadogo, Sanou, Greene and Duclos (2021) consider mHelath’s promises and perils in Burkina Faso, and how such technology-based approaches to remedy structural health inequalities can be overhyped. Finally, Lancham, Berg, Ross and Pentecost (2021), examine the nascent field of infant mental health (IMH) in southern Africa, noting that there is a need to rethink models developed for high-income countries to better reflect the contextual factors at play in other regions.