Case studies

A clearer way to illustrate the relationship between governance and infectious disease is through case studies. This section highlights three diverse examples of infectious diseases, and explains how governance influenced their spread. In the first example, of Guinea worm disease, we will discuss how the neglect of rural and often ethnically marginalized populations led to a disease with a simple life-cycle and relatively easy means of eradication being undercounted and largely ignored despite significant personal, community level, and national economic and health impacts. In the second example, HIV/AIDS, we will discuss how a disease of socially marginalized populations (for example, injection drug users and, in sub Saharan Africa, women) was both initially ignored and subsequently poorly controlled by governments with poor records on human rights and governance. In the third example, we will discuss how the lack of political freedoms in China led to poor recognition and handling of a newly identified infectious disease, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

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