Critical reflection on the field of global health

Our goal throughout the quarter has been to inspire your interest in and commitment to global health, but to do so with a critical eye toward the people and institutions in power, some of whom have an adverse impact on the health of populations.  Without this thoughtful and critical perspective, we cannot make substantive, systemic progress in the field of Global Health.

One institution that receives abundant praise, but also some less audible criticism, is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is headquartered in Seattle and has a very close relationship with the University of Washington and our own Department of Global Health.  The Foundation has taken an active role in the response to the covid-19 pandemic, ostensibly attempting to spread testing and vaccine access, among other priorities.  However, the means have been question, especially if they are benefitting the poorest people the foundation claims to aim to serve.

For this assignment, we ask you to read this article, entitled “Bill Gates, Vaccine Actions” (file I uploaded) as a prompt to provide some reflections on the field of global health.  The article obviously takes a critical perspective on the Gates Foundation.  Your job is to decide, in the context of this course, how you feel about this critique (there are no right or wrong answers).  

In up to one single-spaced page, please consider the following questions:

  • Did the article make a convincing case that the Gates Foundation’s role in the covid-19 pandemic and vaccine access is problematic?  Explain.
  • How has this class given you some tools or perspectives through which to critically analyze both the article and the Gates Foundation?
  • How would you like to see the covid-19 vaccine rollout proceed, especially knowing that the vast majority of people who are poor remain unvaccinated and will for some time?

You job with this assignment is to show critical thinking skills, meaning we encourage you to offer your perspective, but in a way that links to what you’ve learned in class.  There are no right or wrong answers–how you defend your position matters most!

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