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Temperatures Rising

The privatization of public health systems

Radio New Internationalist has just landed in Dublin to join one of the leading lights in Irish community radio - Jack Byrne from NEAR FM - as he reports on a pressing public interest issue: plans to privatize his country's public health system. Ireland - like so many other countries around the world - is preparing to follow the health system operating in the United States. Yet the health outcomes of the US-system are horrendous. Forty seven million Americans - completely uninsured - are destined for patched-up healthcare. Others with insurance face high out-of-pocket costs that bankrupt more than a million people annually. Mortality statistics are lagging behind those of most other wealthy countries. And - according to two North American doctors writing in the British Medical Journal at the end of last year - clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction are mediocre even when you are insured. So as country after country lines up to privatize its health services, we had to ask: 'Why?'

  • Water is essential to good health, and the African nation, Tanzania, has just been awarded compensation after privatized water services in the capital delivered worse water. Tamsyn East - the Water Campaigns Officer with the World Development Movement - reports.
  • Big private pharmaceutical companies are neglecting some killer diseases in countries without cashed-up consumers. Ann-Marie Sevcsik describes the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative that is developing life saving drugs and - in the process - is challenging private companies to cough up with the cures that they've so far neglected.

Today's CD is called Yellela (This is it) sung by the band Eyuphuro with lead vocalist Zena Bacar- the golden voice of Mozambique. She's back after years of silence,singing new songs full of melancholy and powerful rhythms with herreformed band.

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