Several months ago I downloaded ACCESS: How do good health technologies get to poor people in poor countries?, a book listed on Karen Grepin‘s excellent global health recommended reading list, but only just now have gotten around to reading it.
What is “access” in this context?
Stated simply, access refers to people’s ability to obtain and appropriately use good quality health technologies when they are needed. Access is not only a technical issue involving the logistics of transporting a technology from the manufacturer to the end-user. Access also involves social values, economic interests, and political processes. Access requires a product as well as services and is linked to how health systems perform in practice. We think of access not as a single event but as a process involving many activities and actors over time. Access is not a yes-or-no dichotomous condition, but rather a continuous condition of different degrees; more like a rheostat than an on-off switch.
Understanding the factors that help or hinder access to health technologies is a topic I am hoping to explore further in my own dissertation, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the book. ACCESS is available as a free download.
Earlier this summer, I read another of Karen Grepin’s suggestions, The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria. It was fascinating, and highly recommended. I will post some excerpts and “fun” facts I learned soon. This one isn’t available as a free download, but is available on Kindle. And yes, I am a Kindle Convert.