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Building on “the concept of prevention: a good idea gone astray?”
  1. J E Ataguba1,
  2. G Mooney1,2
  1. 1Health Economics Unit, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  2. 2Department of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  1. Correspondence to John E Ataguba, Health Economics Unit, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Falmouth Annex, Medical Campus, University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925, Cape Town, South Africa; john.ataguba{at}


Background In the article by Starfield and colleagues, it was suggested that the concept of prevention has gone astray. This article aims to extend their ideas.

Methods Our methods are to take the Starfield et al article and argue that it is possible and useful to see prevention in a wider context, going beyond prevention in healthcare and viewing prevention as a social good.

Results This wider view results in some questioning of the nature of the benefits of prevention. At the same time, it suggests that the values of informed citizens might be more often elicited to help establish the principles underpinning the concept of prevention.

Conclusion There is a need for further debate involving various disciplines to examine the concept of prevention in greater depth.

  • Prevention
  • whose values
  • social goods
  • informed public
  • prevention PR
  • public participation
  • socio-economic

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.