Is There An Enemy?

Pritpal S Tamber

May 8, 2018

Whether broadening the issues facing health care beyond the limitations of the bio-medical model has, in fact, taken the edge off our work

The concept note (see previous post) is with a number of funders to consider but one of the things we’ve been back and forth with is whether there is enough of ‘an enemy’ in it.

All work seeking to bring about change has to organise around an insight into what’s wrong with the status quo, and be organised in a manner that is likely to bring about the change. In essence, the insight informs who the ‘enemy’ is.

Earlier in our work, we were clear that our insight was that the health care system is too focussed on a bio-medical definition of health. However, as the work progressed, we felt our view applied beyond health, hence we dropped this ‘enemy’ in favour of a broader one about the lack of parity between systems and citizens.

We also felt that just the use of the term ‘health’ makes it impossible to escape the tractor beam of the bio-medical definition of health. Some of us have seen initiatives fail repeatedly because their understanding of health remains too narrow.

So, all in all, we’ve dropped the ‘enemy’ of the bio-medical model and embraced a broader understanding of the problem. However, perhaps we’ve gone too far and potential funders cannot see enough of a thing to get behind.

We shall see. What matters, we feel, is getting into a 1-2-1 conversation with funders. At that point, we can make this decision – the dropping of the ‘enemy’ – more clear. If the concept note achieves that, it’ll have done its job. If not, we’ll have got it wrong.

Pritpal S Tamber

I’m a doctor who trained as a medical editor and publisher and now researches and consults on the link between community power and health equity. My interest in community power started when I was the Physician Editor of TEDMED and is explained in My Perspective. I also work as a freelance medical editor and publisher for organisations that want to write high-quality articles and a strategy for their publishing and promotion. Find out more on my About page.

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