This article examines the development of health system metrics by international organizations, exploring their relationship to the politics of world health. Current historiography treats measurement either as progressive illumination or adopts a critical stance, viewing indicators as instruments of global governance by powerful nations. We draw on diverse statistical publications to provide an empirical overview of change and continuity, beginning with the League of Nations Health Organization, which initiated health system statistics, and concluding with the World health report 2000, with its controversial comparative rankings. We then develop analysis and explanation of these trends. Population indicators appeared consistently owing to their protective function and compatibility with development thinking. Others, related to provision, financing, and coverage, appeared more sporadically, owing to changing trends and assumptions in international health. While partly affirming the critical literature, metrics were also used by peripheral or resistant actors to challenge or influence policy at the centre.
Earlier versions of this article were presented at the European Social Science History Conference, University of Valencia, March 2016, the International Health Organizations Network Conference, University of Shanghai, April 2016, and the Society for the Social History of Medicine Conference, University of Kent, June 2016. We thank participants and discussants for their helpful suggestions, and also thank Anne-Emmanuelle Birn, David Reubi, and George Weisz for their advice. Our research is funded by a Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities Investigator Award (grant no. 106720/Z/15/Z) and we are most grateful for this generous support.
1 Brown, Theodore, Cueto, Marcos, and Fee, Elizabeth, ‘The World Health Organization and the transition from international to global public health’, American Journal of Public Health, 96, 1, 2006, pp. 62–72 .
2 Hanefeld, Johanna, ed., Globalisation and health, Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2015 ; Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, Pillay, Yogan, and Holtz, Timothy, Textbook of international health: global health in a dynamic world, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 6–8 , 417–69.
3 Birn, Pillay, and Holtz, Textbook of international health, p. 8.
4 Harrison, Mark, ‘A global perspective: reframing the history of health, medicine, and disease’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 89, 4, 2015, pp. 641–643 .
5 Harrison, Mark, ‘Disease, diplomacy, and international commerce: the origins of international sanitary regulation in the nineteenth century’, Journal of Global History, 1, 2, 2006, p. 216 ; Sealey, Anne, ‘Globalizing the 1926 International Sanitary Convention’, Journal of Global History, 6, 3, 2011, pp. 431–455 .
6 Negri, Antonio and Hardt, Michael, Empire, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000, pp. 22–30 ; Bashford, Alison, ‘Global biopolitics and the history of world health’, History of the Human Sciences, 19, 1, 2006, pp. 67–88 .
7 Anderson, Warwick, ‘From subjugated knowledge to conjugated subjects: science and globalisation, or postcolonial studies of science?’ Postcolonial Studies, 12, 4, 2009, pp. 389–400 ; Hodges, Sarah, ‘Second opinion: the global menace’, Social History of Medicine, 25, 3, 2012, pp. 719–728 .
8 Mills, A. J. and Ranson, M., ‘The design of health systems’, in M. H. Merson, R. E. Black, and A. J. Mills, eds., International public health: diseases, programs, systems, and policies, Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers, 2001 .
9 Anderson, O. W., ‘Medical care: its social and organizational aspect. Health service systems in the United States and other countries’, Parts I and II, New England Journal of Medicine, 269, 16, 1963, pp. 839–843 , and 269, 17, 1963, pp. 896–900; Roemer, M. I., Health care systems in world perspective, Ann Arbor, MI: Health Administration Press, 1976 .
10 Navarro, Vicente, ‘Planning personal health services: a Markovian model’, Medical Care, 7, 3, 1969, pp. 242–249 ; Anderson, O. W., Health care: can there be equity? The United States, Sweden, and England, New York: Wiley and Sons, 1972 ; Kohn, Robert and White, Kerr, eds., Health care: an international study, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976 .
11 World Health Organization, The world health report 2000. Health systems: improving performance, Geneva: WHO, 2000 .
12 McKee, Martin, ‘The World health report 2000: 10 years on’, Health Policy and Planning, 25, 2010, pp. 346–348 .
13 Adams, Vincanne, ed., Metrics: what counts in global health, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016 .
14 Davis, Kevin, Fisher, Angelina, Kingsbury, Benedict, and Merry, Sally Engle, eds., Governance by indicators: global power through quantification and rankings, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012 .
15 Davis, Kevin, Kingsbury, Benedict, and Merry, Sally Engle, ‘Indicators as a technology of global governance’, Law and Society Review, 46, 1, 2012, pp. 71–104 .
16 Adams, Vincanne, ‘Metrics of the global sovereign’, in Adams, Metrics, pp. 19–54 .
17 Borowy, Iris, Coming to terms with world health: The League of Nations Health Organisation 1921–1946, Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2009, pp. 177–183 ; Borowy, Iris, ‘World health in a book: the International health yearbooks ’, in Iris Borowy and Wolf Gruner, eds., Facing illness in troubled times: health in Europe in the interwar years 1918–1939, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2005, pp. 85–128 .
18 Harrison, ‘Global perspective’, p. 671; Patricia Anne Sealey, ‘The League of Nations Health Organisation and the evolution of transnational public health’, PhD thesis, Ohio State University, 2011, p. 202.
19 Fetter, Bruce, ‘Origins and elaboration of the National Health Accounts, 1926–2006’, Health Care Financing Review, 28, 1, 2006, pp. 53–54 ; Committee on the Costs of Medical Care, Medical care for the American people: the final report of the Committee on the Costs of Medical Care, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1932 , ch. 1.
20 Murray, C. J. L., Govindraj, R., and Musgrove, P., ‘National health expenditures: a global analysis’, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 72, 4, 1994, pp. 623–637 .
21 Berman, Peter, ‘What can the U.S. learn from national health accounting elsewhere?’, Health Care Financing Review, 21, 2, 1999, pp. 48–49 .
22 Schneider, Markus, ‘National health accounts: a tool for international comparison of health spending’, in T. R. Marmor, R. Freeman, and K. H. G. Okma, eds., Comparative studies and the politics of modern medical care, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009, pp. 319–345 .
23 van Mosseveld, C. J. P. M., International comparison of health care expenditure, existing frameworks, innovations and data use, Voorburg: Statistics Netherlands, 2003, pp. 3–5 .
24 Poullier, Jean-Pierre, ‘Administrative costs in selected industrialized countries’, Health Care Financing Review, 13, 4, 1992, pp. 167–173 .
25 Berman, ‘What can the U.S. learn?’, p. 50.
26 Starr, Paul, ‘The sociology of official statistics’, in W. Alonso and P. Starr, eds., The politics of numbers, New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1987, p. 8 .
27 Cooley, Alexander, ‘The emerging politics of international rankings and ratings’, in Alexander Cooley and Jack Snyder, eds., Ranking the world: grading states as a tool of global governance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, pp. 1–38 .
28 Power, Michael, The audit society: rituals of verification, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997 ; Fioramonti, Lorenzo, How numbers rule the world: the use and abuse of statistics in global politics, London: Zed Books, 2014, pp. 39–67 .
29 Fioramonti, Lorenzo, Gross domestic problem: the politics behind the world’s most powerful number, London: Zed Books, 2013 ; Morse, Stephen, Indicators and indices in development: an unhealthy obsession with numbers, London: Earthscan, 2004, pp. 33–59 ; Jerven, Morten, Poor numbers: how we are misled by African development statistics and what to do about it, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013 .
30 See the contributions to Adams, Metrics.
31 Yamin, Alicia Ely, ‘Sexual and reproductive health, rights, and MDG 5: taking stock, looking forward’, in Malcolm Langford, Andy Sumner, and Alicia Ely Yamin, eds., The Millennium Development Goals and human rights: past, present and future, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013, pp. 232–254 .
32 Langford, Malcolm, ‘Rethinking the metrics of progress: the case of water and sanitation’, in Langford, Sumner, and Yamin, Millennium Development Goals, pp. 461–483 ; Fisher, Angelina, ‘From diagnosing under-immunization to evaluating health care systems: immunization coverage indicators as a technology of global governance’, in Davis et al., Governance by indicators, pp. 217–246 .
33 Fioramonti, How numbers rule, pp. 144–91; Birn, Anne-Emanuelle, ‘Gates’s grandest challenge: transcending technology as public health ideology’, Lancet, 366, 2005, pp. 514–519 .
34 Cooley, ‘Emerging politics’, pp. 17–18.
35 Poovey, Mary, The history of the modern fact: problems of knowledge in the sciences of wealth and society, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998, pp. xiii–xviii , 40–59, 120–38.
36 Hacking, Ian, The taming of chance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 3–4 .
37 Ibid., pp. 34–7, 47–54, 76, 118–20, 163–9.
38 Michel Foucault, ‘The crisis of medicine or the crisis of antimedicine?’, lecture given at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1974, trans. E. Knowlton and C. O’Farrell, Foucault studies, 1, 2004, p. 6; Foucault, Michel, ‘The politics of health in the eighteenth century’, trans. Colin Gordon, in Michel Foucault, Power/knowledge: selected interviews and other writings 1972–1977, New York: Pantheon Books, 1980, pp. 166–182 .
39 Foucault, Michel, The history of sexuality. Volume I: an introduction , trans. Robert Hurley, New York: Pantheon, 1978, pp. 140–141 ; Foucault ‘Politics of health’, pp. 172–7.
40 Foucault, Michel, ‘The birth of social medicine’, trans. Colin Gordon, in Foucault, Power/knowledge, pp. 134–156 .
41 Fioramonti, How numbers rule, pp. 195–7.
42 Rusnock, Andrea, Vital accounts: quantifying health and population in eighteenth-century England and France, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 10, 67, 92–106 , 152 (quoting James Burges, An account of the preparation and management necessary to inoculation, London, 1754, and William Heberden, Observations on the increase and decrease of different diseases, London, 1801).
43 Matthews, J. Rosser, Quantification and the quest for medical certainty, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995, pp. 143–145 ; Porter, Theodore, Trust in numbers: the pursuit of objectivity in science and public life, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995 .
44 Rusnock, Vital accounts, p. 217; Starr, ‘Sociology of official statistics’, pp. 18–20, 56–7; Prewitt, Kenneth, ‘Public statistics and democratic politics’, in Alonso and Starr, Politics of numbers, pp. 261–274 .
45 Fioramonti, How numbers rule, pp. 210–13; Morse, Indicators and indices, pp. 180–3.
46 Cooley, ‘Emerging politics’, pp. 9, 21–3.
47 Davis, Kevin, Kingsbury, Benedict, and Merry, Sally Engle, ‘Introduction: global governance by indicators’, in Davis et al., Governance by indicators, p. 8 .
48 Ibid., pp. 8–9; Starr, ‘Sociology of official statistics’, p. 40; Morse, Indicators and indices, p. 179.
49 Davis, Kingsbury, and Merry, ‘Indicators as a technology’, p. 87; Starr, ‘Sociology of official statistics’, pp. 40–52.
50 Starr, ‘Sociology of official statistics’, pp. 41, 53.
51 Fioramonti, How numbers rule, pp. 19–27.
52 Davis, Kingsbury, and Merry, ‘Introduction’, pp. 8, 15; Cooley, ‘Emerging politics’, pp. 20–1.
53 Davis, Kingsbury, and Merry, ‘Indicators as a technology’, pp. 93–4; Davis, Kingsbury, and Merry, ‘Introduction’, pp. 19–20.
54 Davis, Kingsbury, and Merry, ‘Indicators as a technology’, p. 30; Starr, ‘Sociology of official statistics’, p. 54.
55 Büthe, Tim, ‘Beyond supply and demand: a political–economic conceptual model’, in Davis et al., Governance by indicators, pp. 32–34 ; Fisher, ‘From diagnosing under-immunization’, pp. 244–6.
56 Dubin, Martin, ‘The League of Nations Health Organization’, in Paul Weindling, ed., International health organisations and movements, 1918–1939, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995 .
57 Weindling, International health organisations, p. 135; Weindling, Paul, ‘The League of Nations Health Organization and the rise of Latin American participation, 1920–40’, História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos, 13, 3, 2006, pp. 555–570 ; Borowy, Coming to terms, p. 84.
58 Kott, Sandrine and Droux, Joelle, eds., Globalizing social rights: the International Labour Organization and beyond, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013 ; Weindling, International health organisations, p. 138.
59 Kott, Sandrine, ‘Constructing a European social model: the fight for social insurance in the interwar period’, in Jasmin van Daele et al, eds., ILO histories: essays on the International Labour Organization and its impact on the world during the twentieth century, Bern: Peter Lang, 2010, pp. 173–195 .
60 Dubin, ‘League of Nations Health Organization’; Chorev, Nitsan, The World Health Organization between North and South, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2012 .
61 ‘Constitution of the World Health Organization’, American Journal of Public Health, 36, 11, 1946, p. 1315, paras. c, f, p.
62 Buse, Kent, ‘Spotlight on international organizations: the World Bank’, Health Policy and Planning 9, 1, 1994, pp. 95–99 ; Preker, Alexander and Feachem, Richard, ‘The role of the World Bank in facilitating health sector reform’, in Zuzana Feachem, Martin Hensher, and Laura Rose, eds., Implementing health sector reform in central Asia: papers from an EDI health policy seminar held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, June 1996, EDI Learning Resources Series, Washington, DC: The International Bank for Reconstruction, 1999, p. 144 .
63 Kaasch, Alexandra, Shaping global health policy: global social policy actors and ideas about health care systems, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 .
64 Carroll, Peter and Kellow, Aynsley, The OECD: a study of organisational adaptation, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011, pp. 1–2 .
65 OECD, Public expenditure on health, Studies in resource allocation no. 4, Paris: OECD, 1977 .
66 OECD archive, Paris, DEELSA/ELSA/WP1/M(95)1, ‘Working Party on Social Policy: summary record of the 14th meeting. Held at the Château de la Muette, Paris, 11–12 October 1995’, p. 3.
67 Swaroop, S. and Uemura, K., ‘Proportional mortality of 50 years and above: a suggested indicator of the component “health, including demographic conditions” in the measurement of levels of living’, Bulletin of the World Health Organization 17, 3, 1957, p. 442 .
68 Fioramonti, Gross domestic problem, pp. 24–32.
69 PEP (Political and Economic Planning), Report on the British health services, London: PEP, 1937, p. 391 .
70 Tooze, Adam, Statistics and the German state: the making of modern economic knowledge, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001 .
71 Borowy, ‘World health’, pp. 94–5.
72 Kott, Sandrine, ‘Dynamiques de l’internationalisation: l’Allemagne et l’Organisation Internationale du Travail (1919–1940)’, Critique Internationale, 3, 52, 2011, pp. 69–84 ; Kott, ‘Constructing a European social model’.
73 Chadwick, Edwin, Report on the sanitary condition of the labouring population of Gt. Britain, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1965 , pp. 219–254 .
74 Pinker, R., English hospital statistics 1861–1938, London: Heinemann, p. 1966 .
75 Borowy, ‘World health’, p. 126.
76 Borowy, Iris, ‘Counting death and disease: classification of death and disease in the interwar years, 1919–1939’, Continuity and Change, 18, 3, 2003, pp. 457–481 .
77 Amrith, Sunil, Decolonizing international health: India and Southeast Asia, 1930–65, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, pp. 9–11 , 23–4, 29–36.
78 League of Nations Health Committee, Sessions 17–18, 1931, ‘Fourth Meeting May 7th 1931. 10. Budget estimates for 1932’, pp. 42–3.
79 League of Nations Health Committee, Sessions 19–20, 1932–33, ‘Fifth Meeting October 15th. The crisis and its effects on public health’, pp. 82–3.
80 E.g. LNHO, International health yearbook 1927 (third year), Geneva: League of Nations, 1927 , title page.
81 Although statutory health insurance was relatively recent, returns variously included data on membership numbers or rates, claims incidence and duration, and revenue and expenditure. League of Nations Archive, Geneva (henceforth LONA), 8A/22711/19793, ‘1929 Health Year Book (Volume 6) Model statistical tables and various correspondence’, ‘Tableaux statistiques’; LONA, 8A/19793/19793, ‘1929 Health Year Book (Volume 6)’, ‘Suggestions to authors of reports for the International Health Year Book’.
82 Sand, René, The advance to social medicine, London: Staples Press, 1952 .
83 See e.g. LONA, R 972/12B/57467/46868, anon. [Frank Boudreau(?)], ‘Proposals in regard to the further study of health insurance in relation to public health services from the point of view of preventive medicine’, February 1927.
84 LONA, R 968/12B/46868/46868, ‘Proposal of the Czechoslovak government for an enquiry into the health conditions of various countries’; ‘Notes on the health insurance inquiry’, March 1927.
85 Key officials in collaborative efforts were Rajchman’s assistant Frank Boudreau (LNHO) and Ferdinand Maurette (ILO). See, e.g., LONA, R 968/12B/46871/46848, letter from Albert Thomas, Director of the ILO, to Sir Eric Drummond, Secretary General of the League of Nations, October 1925. See also LONA, R 992, letter, Frank Boudreau, Health Section, LNHO to Dr J. Kuhn, Secretary of the Medical Association of Denmark, 30 March 1927.
86 LONA, R 992/12B/58852/57687, ‘Joint Commission of Experts for the study of the relationship between public health services and health insurance organisations: report of the first session’, 1927; LONA, R 992/12B/58852/57687, Sir George Newman, untitled draft speech, March 1927.
87 ILO, SI 21/5/2, ‘Mixed Commission of Public Health and Social Insurance. Sub-Commission of Social Medicine. General instructions for co-operation between social insurance organizations and social hygiene institutions in Czechoslovakia’, December 1929; LONA, R 970/12B/46868/48705, letter, Rajchman to Foramitti, 4 May 1925.
88 Borowy, Coming to terms; Borowy, ‘World health’.
89 Borowy, ‘World health’, pp. 91–4.
90 Dubin, ‘League of Nations Health Organization’, p. 57; Borowy, Coming to terms, pp. 34, 180.
91 LONA, 8A/22711/19793 ‘1929 Health Year Book (Volume 6): model statistical tables and various correspondence’, ‘Tableaux statistiques’; Borowy, Coming to terms, p. 182.
92 Stouman, K. and Falk, I. S., ‘Health indices: a study of objective indices of health in relation to environment and sanitation, Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, 15, 1, 1937, pp. 5–36 ; Stouman, K. and Falk, I. S., ‘An international system of health indices: a preliminary report’, American Journal of Public Health, 27, 1937, pp. 363–370 .
93 WHO archive, Geneva, WHO/HS/19, WHO, ‘Expert Committee on Health Statistics: report of the first session’, 31 May 1949, p. 5.
94 WHO, ‘Expert Committee on Health Statistics: eighth report’, WHO Technical Report Series no. 261, Geneva: WHO, 1963, p. 8.
95 Gillespie, James A., ‘Social medicine, social security and international health, 1940–60’, in Esteban Rodríguez Ocaña, ed., The politics of the healthy life: an international perspective, Sheffield: EAHMH, 2002 .
96 Brown, Cueto, and Fee, ‘World Health Organization’.
97 Packard, Randall, The making of a tropical disease: a short history of malaria, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007 .
98 WHO, ‘Expert Committee on Health Statistics: report of the second session, Geneva, 18–21 April 1950’, WHO Technical Report Series no. 25, Geneva: WHO, 1950, p. 32.
99 WHO, ‘Expert Committee on Health Statistics: first session’; WHO, ‘Expert Committee on Health Statistics: third report’, WHO Technical Report Series no. 53, Geneva: WHO, 1952, pp. 16–17.
100 WHO, World Health Statistics Annual 1962, Geneva: WHO, 1965, pp. 24–25 .
101 González, Carlos Luis, ‘The collection and use of health statistics in national and local health services’, Nineteenth World Health Assembly, Geneva: WHO, 6 May 1966, pp. 3–4 .
102 WHO, The second ten years of the World Health Organization 1958–67, Geneva: WHO, 1968, pp. 37–39 ; García Gutiérrez, J., ‘Health planning in Latin America’, American Journal of Public Health, 65, 10, 1975, pp. 1047–1049 .
103 Hilleboe, H., Barkhuus, A., and Thomas, W., Approaches to national health planning, Geneva: WHO, 1972, pp. 7, 15 .
104 WHO, ‘Expert Committee on Health Statistics: thirteenth report. Statistics of health services and of their activities’, WHO Technical Report Series no. 429, Geneva: WHO, 1969, pp. 5–8.
105 WHO archive, Hist.Col WA 540 MW6 740R V2.
106 International Labour Office, The cost of medical care: Studies and reports 51, Geneva: International Labour Office, 1959 .
107 Ibid., p. 156.
108 Ibid., pp. 2, 156.
109 Abel-Smith, B. and Titmuss, R. M., The cost of the National Health Service in England and Wales, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1955, pp. 60–61 ; Sheard, Sally, The passionate economist: how Brian Abel-Smith shaped global health and social welfare, Bristol: Policy Press, 2013 .
110 Abel-Smith, B., Paying for health services: a study of the costs and sources of finance in six countries, Geneva: WHO, 1963 .
111 Abel-Smith, B., An international study of health expenditure and its relevance for health planning, Geneva: WHO, 1967, pp. 46, 103 .
112 Ibid., pp. 88, 96.
113 WHO archive, WHO/OMC/1-27, Hernan Romero, ‘An approach to the problem of costs and financing of medical care services’, 8 August 1956.
114 Ibid., p. 40.
115 APHA Task Force on Chile, ‘History of the health care system in Chile’, American Journal of Public Health, 67, 1, 1977, pp. 31–36 ; Viveros-Long, Anamaria, ‘Changes in health financing: the Chilean experience’, Social Science and Medicine, 22, 3, 1986, pp. 379–385 .
116 APHA Task Force, ‘Health care system in Chile’, pp. 32–3.
117 OECD Health Policy Unit, ‘The state of implementation of the OECD manual: a system of health accounts (SHA) in OECD member countries’, 10 June 2001; UN, ‘Measurement of national income and the construction of social accounts: report of the Sub-Committee on National Income Statistics of the League of Nations Committee of Statistical Experts’, Studies and reports on statistical methods, Geneva: United Nations, 1947.
118 United Nations, A system of national accounts and supporting tables, Studies in methods no. 2, New York: United Nations, 1953. From 1982 the yearbook was renamed National accounts statistics: main aggregates and detailed tables.
119 Berman, ‘What can the U.S. learn?’; OECD Health Policy Unit, ‘State of implementation’; Pommier, Philippe, ‘Social expenditure: socialization of expenditure? The French experiment with satellite accounts’, Review of Income and Wealth, 27, 4, 1981, pp. 373–386 ; Gillion, Colin et al., Measuring health care 1960–1983, Social policy studies no. 2, Paris: OECD, 1985 .
120 Berman, ‘What can the U.S. learn?’
121 OECD, Public expenditure on health.
122 Ibid.; Kaasch, Shaping global health policy.
123 Abel-Smith, B., ‘Foreword’, in Robert Maxwell, Health and wealth: an international study of health-care spending, Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1980, pp. xi–xii .
124 OECD, Public expenditure on health.
125 Gillion et al., Measuring health care.
126 OECD, ‘State of implementation’; OECD, Eurostat, and WHO, A system of health accounts 2011 edition, Paris: OECD Publishing, 2011 .
127 George Schieber and OECD, Financing and delivering health care: a comparative analysis of OECD countries, Social policy studies no. 4, Paris: OECD, 1987, p. 9 .
128 Cueto, Marcos, ‘The origins of primary health care and selective primary health care’, American Journal of Public Health 94, 11, 2004, pp. 1864–1874 ; Newell, K., ed., Health by the people, Geneva: WHO, 1975 .
129 Chorev, World Health Organisation.
130 Cueto, ‘Origins of primary health care’.
131 World Bank, World development report 1993: investing in health, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993 .
132 Murray, C. J. and Acharya, A., ‘Understanding DALYs’, Journal of Health Economics, 16, 1997, p. 707 .
133 World Bank, World development report 1993, p. iii.
134 de Ferranti, David, Paying for health services in developing countries: an overview, Washington, DC: World Bank, 1985 ; World Bank, Financing health services in developing countries: an agenda for reform, Washington, DC: IBRD, 1987 .
135 World Bank, Financing health services, p. 2.
136 Murray, C. J. and Lopez, A., ‘Progress and directions in refining the global burden of disease approach: a response to Williams’, Health Economics, 9, 1, 2000, p. 72 ; life tables from Japan provide the healthful norms on which calculation is based.
137 Adams, ‘Metrics of the global sovereign’, pp. 21–6.
138 Stouman and Falk, ‘Health indices’, pp. 9–10.
139 Swaroop and Uemura, ‘Proportional mortality’; Hilleboe, Barkhuus, and Thomas, Approaches to national health planning, pp. 54–6; Sanders, B., ‘Measuring community health levels’, American Journal of Public Health and the Nation’s Health, 54, 7, 1964, pp. 1063–1070 ; Sullivan, D. F., ‘A single index of mortality and morbidity’, HSMHA Health Reports, 86, 4, 1971, pp. 347–354 ; Rosser, R. M. and Watt, V. C., ‘The measurement of hospital output’, International Journal of Epidemiology, 1, 4, 1972, pp. 361–368 ; Zeckhauser, R. and Shepard, D., ‘Where now for saving lives?’, Law and Contemporary Problems, 40, 4, 1976, pp. 5–45 .
140 Murray and Acharya, ‘Understanding DALYs’, pp. 711–19.
141 Smith, Jeremy, Epic measures: one doctor, seven billion patients, New York: HarperCollins, 2015 .
142 Williams, Alan, ‘Calculating the global burden of disease: time for a strategic reappraisal?’, Health Economics, 8, 1, 1999, pp. 1–8 ; Sayers, B. and Fliedner, T., ‘The critique of DALYs: a counter-reply’, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 75, 4, 1997, pp. 383–384 .
143 Anand, S. and Hanson, K., ‘Disability-adjusted life years: a critical review’, Journal of Health Economics, 16, 6, 1997, pp. 685–702 ; Arensen, T. and Nord, E., ‘The value of DALY life: problems with ethics and validity of disability adjusted life years’, British Medical Journal, 319, 1999, pp. 1423–1425 .
144 Adams, ‘Metrics of the global sovereign’, 26–7.
145 Murray and Lopez, ‘Progress and directions’; Murray and Acharya, ‘Understanding DALYs’.
146 Murray and Acharya, ‘Understanding DALYs’, p. 717.
147 Knaul, F. M. and Frenk, J., ‘Health insurance in Mexico: achieving universal coverage through structural reform’, Health Affairs, 24, 6, 2005, pp. 1467–1476 .
148 Navarro, V., ‘Assessment of the World health report 2000 ’, Lancet, 356, 2000, pp. 1598–1601 ; Almeida, Celia et al., ‘Methodological concerns and recommendations on policy consequences of the World health report 2000 ’, Lancet, 357, 2001, pp. 1692–1697 .
149 Robert Helms, ‘Sick list: health care à la Karl Marx’, Wall Street Journal Europe, 29 June 2000.
150 McKee, Martin, ‘Measuring the efficiency of health systems’, British Medical Journal, 323, 2001, pp. 295–296 ; Blendon, R. J., Kim, M. and Benson, J. M., ‘The public versus the World Health Organization on health system performance’, Health Affairs, 20, 3, 2001, pp. 10–20 ; Robbins, A., ‘Book review’, Public Health Reports, 119, 2001, pp. 268–269 ; Pedersen, Kjeld Møller, ‘The World health report 2000: dialogue of the deaf?’, Health Economics, 11, 2002, p. 94 .
151 Williams, Alan, ‘Science or marketing at WHO? A commentary on “World health 2000”’, Health Economics, 10, 2001, pp. 93–100 .
152 Knaul and Frenk, ‘Health insurance in Mexico’.
153 Zhang, Xiulan et al., ‘Advancing the application of systems thinking in health: managing rural China health system development in complex and dynamic contexts’, Health Research Policy and Systems, 12, 44, 2014, p. 5 .
154 Barack Obama, ‘Remarks by the President to a Joint Session of Congress on Health Care September 9, 2009’, https://web.archive.org/web/20100308000433/https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-a-joint-session-congress-health-care (consulted 22 June 2017).
155 McKee, ‘World health report 2000’.
156 Saltman, R. B. and Ferroussier-Davis, O., ‘The concept of stewardship in health policy’, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 78, 6, 2000, pp. 732–739 .
* Earlier versions of this article were presented at the European Social Science History Conference, University of Valencia, March 2016, the International Health Organizations Network Conference, University of Shanghai, April 2016, and the Society for the Social History of Medicine Conference, University of Kent, June 2016. We thank participants and discussants for their helpful suggestions, and also thank Anne-Emmanuelle Birn, David Reubi, and George Weisz for their advice. Our research is funded by a Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities Investigator Award (grant no. 106720/Z/15/Z) and we are most grateful for this generous support.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.
* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.
Usage data cannot currently be displayed.