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by
Theodore Dalrymple

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January 11, 2012 - 12:00 am
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If le style c’est l’homme meme (the style is the man), goodness knows what the authors of an editorial in the latest New England Journal of Medicine must be like; cyborgs, I should think. Here is a sample:

In addition, the guidelines attempt to democratize the governance process for global health by incorporating second reporting instrument enabling all other stakeholders to formally share relevant information.

The effect on the brain of reading a whole page of this stuff is like that of gross overeating. No one can come to the end of it and remain fully alert. One suspects that is it purpose: to bore the reader into acquiescence.

The editorial concerns the tendency of health workers — doctors, nurses, and technicians — to migrate from poor to rich countries, and assumes that something bureaucratic must be done about it.

It begins by pointing out that Zimbabwe trained 1200 physicians between 1990 and 2001, of whom fully 840 have emigrated. This is doubly unfortunate, since — as every doctor who has ever worked in Africa knows — a doctor can do more good there, from the point of view of saving human life, with a few simple tools, than he can in a rich country with a whole armamentarium of the most sophisticated equipment. And this is because the pattern of disease is different in rich and poor countries: in Africa, life-threatening but easily-treated infections are still very prevalent.

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