General theory of paradigms in health

E Mohs
Scandinavian Journal of Social Medicine. Supplementum 1991, 46: 14-24
In Costa Rica, three sequential health paradigms have been identified over the last 50 years. The first began to develop during the 40's and has been called that of the deficiency diseases, since with a diachronic approach it placed excessive emphasis on malnutrition. The second began in 1970 and it is known as that of the infectious diseases, since through a holistic or synchronic approach, it underlined the importance of infections in high rates of morbidity and mortality. The third and last is the paradigm of the chronic diseases, it appeared in the 80's and is presently in process, doing battle with the chronic ailments, life styles, and environment, and it also utilizes a holistic approach. The recognition of these three paradigms has permitted Costa Rica a rapid advance in improving the health of its population, to the point that with a per capita outlay of $130 (US dollars), it has indices similar to those of the industrialized nations. This particular experience could be useful for other less-developed countries that are still applying the paradigm of the deficiency diseases.

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