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Vertical or Horizontal? Socialist Health, Priorities and Epidemic Management

Posted by C3W Admin on March 28 2022

Dora Vargha presented at the “Contagion” – History of Medicine and Heath Seminar organized under the auspices of the Groningen Centre for Health and Humanities and the Centre for Historical Studies. Responsibilities for health, access to healthcare, and contagion were highly visible issues around which Cold War conflicts were organised, whether through hospital-building and medical training programs, debates around socialised medicine, or the international control of epidemics. However, socialist contexts show up surprisingly little in master narratives of global health, including the contributions of their networks, health structures, and ideas underpinning public health to this history. There is much to gain, however, by integrating these missing contexts into global health history, not only historiographically, but analytically as well. Through an analysis of epidemic management approaches in socialist regimes, this paper considers how it might be possible to move beyond the conventional separation of ‘vertical’ versus ‘horizontal’ health intervention concepts, and explores the role of socialist networks and priorities in health that have shaped epidemic experience in the socialist world and beyond.

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