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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The evolution and development of international health collaboration Jolly, Jennifer Elaine


The goal of this thesis is to document and explain the evolution and development of international health collaboration. Utilizing international relations theory, the initial development of the health regulatory regime is traced through the early sanitary conferences. The establishment of international health organizations is then documented, along with the transformation this entailed in international health collaboration. The resulting effect the institutionalization of the international health regime had upon international health collaboration is finally presented. It is determined that states initial interest in international health collaboration grew out of a concern for reducing the impediments to international trade and commerce that quarantine measures imposed. States were, at first, reluctant to collaborate, but as scientific knowledge increased, international cooperation in this area expanded. Realizing the benefits of joint technical cooperation, states formed international organizations. The special characteristics of international health under the guiding influence of medical specialists were to cause an evolution within this regime. Collaboration in this area has greatly increased. The primary concern of the international health regime is no longer the containment of pestilent diseases without significant interference to international commerce. This regime is now concerned with improving the level of health care to all states, regardless of the effects this might have on the interests of the developed states. Technical cooperation and aid to developing countries is now the central focus of the World Health Organization. This evolution has not occurred without some degree of conflict, however, as it is the developing states and the medical elites of the organization have forced the evolution of the previous norms of this regime. The developing states have a clear interest in securing assistance in developing their health infrastructures, and the elites of the WHO are committed by nature of their scientific training to work towards this ideal. The developed states are not in favour of this change as it threatens their interests and power within this regime. Although it initially appeared that collaboration in this area would be relatively easy to secure as an improvement in health would be to every state's benefit, this has not always been the case. International relations theory is utilized in this thesis to explain the origins, the obstacles, and the evolution that has occurred within this regime.

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