Public health programs as surrogates for social action in Suriname, South America

Daniel Peplow, Sarah Augustine

This paper addresses the merits of public health activism that advocates for social change in which health is the outcome of interest. We acknowledge that while efforts at the individual level are important, social network models consider the underlying mechanisms that lie outside the public health sector. This paper considers the inequitable health of Indigenous people who bear a disproportionate share of the negative health consequences due to economic development programs that follow an assimilation model. This paper discusses a combination of theoretical constructs to understand and solve the problems at hand. It concludes that while the attention paid to technological and behavioral solutions at the individual level yields important health outcomes, attention should also be paid to structural causes that address social, political and economic barriers to prevent disease, disability and premature death.

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