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Going Public

The Unmaking and Remaking of Universal Healthcare

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 December 2023

Ramya Kumar
University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Anne-Emanuelle Birn
University of Toronto


This Element highlights the pivotal role of corporate players in universal health coverage ideologies and implementation, and critically examines social innovation-driven approaches to expanding primary care in low-income settings. It first traces the evolving meanings of universal health/healthcare in global health politics and policy, analysing their close, often hidden, intertwining with corporate interests and exigencies. It then juxtaposes three social innovations targeting niche 'markets' for lower-cost services in the Majority World, against three present-day examples of publicly financed and delivered primary healthcare (PHC), demonstrating what corporatization does to PHC, within deeply entrenched colonial-capitalist structures and discourses that normalize inferior care, private profit, and dispossession of peoples.
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Online ISBN: 9781009209588
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication: 18 January 2024

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