Health systems and the challenge of communicable diseases. Experiences from Europe and Latin America

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Published by Open University Press
European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies series
2008, xxii + 266 pages
ISBN 978 0 335 23366 3 (Paperback) £26.99
ISBN 978 0 335 23365 6 (Hardback) £70.00


Health systems everywhere face constant change as they seek to respond to evolving patterns of disease. This is especially true with communicable diseases where humanity is engaged in a constant evolutionary struggle with microorganisms that are able to adapt rapidly to a changing world.

This fascinating book looks at two regions where the pace of change is especially rapid, Europe and Latin America – places where health systems are themselves undergoing rapid organizational transition.

The book begins with an historical overview of the way in which humans and microorganisms have always competed, before examining the current status of this evolutionary struggle. It assesses the extent to which human societies and their governments are prepared for the challenges ahead and reviews the experiences of countries in Europe and Latin America in developing effective responses.

Health systems and the challenge of communicable diseases will be of interest to policy-makers in high- and middle-income countries, and to students of the creation and implementation of health policy.

The editors

Richard Coker is Reader in Communicable Diseases Policy Research at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Rifat Atun is Professor of International Health Management at Imperial College London

Martin McKee is Professor of European Public Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Research Director, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies