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American Journal of Public Health Research. 2018, 6(6), 243-252
DOI: 10.12691/ajphr-6-6-2
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Where is the Global South in the Health Discourse? Attempt Forthcoming from the Oromo People’s Perspective

Begna Dugassa1,

1Oromo Studies Association, Mississauga, Canada

Pub. Date: January 01, 2019

Cite this paper:
Begna Dugassa. Where is the Global South in the Health Discourse? Attempt Forthcoming from the Oromo People’s Perspective. American Journal of Public Health Research. 2018; 6(6):243-252. doi: 10.12691/ajphr-6-6-2


Background: The contemporary understanding of health and diseases has evolved from the Judeo/Christian/Islamic literature to the biomedical knowledge and then to the World Health Organization (WHO), definition. All these definitions consistently focused on deficit model and equivocally claimed universality. Although the impacts of injustice to health are well known, these definitions did not give adequate attention to the social and environmental injustices as disease-causing agents. Methods: Having in mind that knowledge is socially constructed, in this paper I reviewed literatures on the evolutionary changes in our understanding of health and diseases and made effort to trace the significant changes made in our understanding health through time and the concepts that are kept in those changes. I also looked at the significance of maintaining the deficit model and universality in disease prevention and health promotion. Results: Although there are changes in our understanding of health and diseases, the contemporary definition has significant deficits. Those definitions are not only incomplete and they are also biased. The definition gives us theoretical underpinning for actions, the contemporary understanding of health hindered us from effectively promoting health. Not only that, these definitions victimized the victim and made the gaps in the life expectancy between countries and within a country as a natural and enviable reality. Conclusions: To effectively promote health, prevent diseases and reduce health disparities we need to widen our way of thinking about health, depart from the Eurocentric ideas and provide theoretical rationales that foster the “upstream” public health approach. In the Oromo perspectives, health and peace are intertwined. For them, personal health/peace are intertwined with the peace/health of the family, community and natural world as well as divine power. For them, peace includes social and environmental justices.

Defining health incorporating social justice and sustainable development in definition of health

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