A critique of the ideological and political positions of the Willy Brandt Report and the WHO Alma Ata Declaration

Soc Sci Med. 1984;18(6):467-74. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(84)90002-9.


This article (1) analyzes the Willy Brandt Commission Report and the WHO Alma Ata Declaration within the socio-economic and political context that determined them, and (2) makes a critique of the ideological and political assumptions that both documents make. Through an assumingly apolitical and technological-administrative discourse both documents reproduce the major positions upheld by the hegemonic development establishments of the Western world. The article analyzes (through a study of what is being said and not said) how those positions appear in the documents. It is indicated that (1) their understanding of the causes of underdevelopment and its major health and disease problems and (2) their suggestions for change based on 'moral calls for social justice' and 'enlightened self-interest' are faulty and insufficient. Alternative explanations and solutions are presented.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Developing Countries
  • Global Health*
  • Health Policy*
  • Medical Laboratory Science
  • Politics
  • Population Control
  • World Health Organization*