The Declaration of Alma Ata: The global adoption of a ‘Maoist’ model for universal healthcare
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Kadetz, P. (2022) 'The Declaration of Alma Ata: The global adoption of a ‘Maoist’ model for universal healthcare', in V. Lo, M. Stanley-Baker and D. Yang (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Chinese Medicine. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 625-637.
The World Health Assembly’s 1977 Declaration of Alma Ata offered a blueprint for universal healthcare via comprehensive primary healthcare that was based on Mao Zedong’s attempts to redress rural healthcare inequities in China. This chapter unpacks and critically examines the assumptions embedded in the WHO representation of this model to aim for universal access to healthcare. The adoption of a Chinese model for bringing about healthcare for all by the WHO was a complex trajectory resulting from international and domestic political economic forces that can be traced from the early work of the Rockefeller Foundation in China to the need for Mao Zedong to demonstrate the value of communism in China through coercive and enforced resolutions to redress rural healthcare inequalities.