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January 9: Global Health in Anthropology

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ANTH 3330
Christianne Stephens

GLOBALHEALTH INANTHROPOLOGY ▯ International Health • governmental or NGO consultants • culture and organization of global health programs • promotions of cooperation between traditional + international practices and programs ◦ NGO basis health care and preventative programs, traditional healers, and local midwives Critiques of International Health • Reinforces the dichotomy between "us" and "them", and presumes that they need us; presumes dependency ◦ little room for locals to take part in the planning and implementation of health policies • Presumes poverty linked to need ◦ there are other variables that link health disparities and needs than just poverty • Situated in international (i.e. far away) context ONLY ◦ doesn't talk about interconnectedness through globalization, synergy between people and ideas ◦ very limited in that regard • Presumes development scenario ◦ quick fix scenarios don't deal with those ultimate causes that lead to poor health outcomes ◦ doesn't look up stream • Tends to be uncritical ◦ early manifestations or programs of this type of paradigm were very uncritical ◦ very much "there is a need, rally support and supplies", but not looking at the political economy, things that cause instability like war, violence, environmental issues, narrow in terms of trying to find sustainable solutions Global Health • Transcends classic geo-political borders ◦ there is a recognition that it's not only happening "over there" ◦ we live in an interconnected world: migration of people and ideas • Positions health as an outcome of processes like globalization that have intensified human interactions ◦ assemblages that create these different social issues • Studies population health in context of power relations (transnational forces, systems of inequity) • Studies local issues as 'people-in-contexts,' not in isolation, who are affected by different forces  • global health is a more encompassing term, looks at relationships between peoples, places, and things ◦ idea of global health presents that there's a transcendance of things in time, place, and ideas  ◦ permeability of boundaries, free flow of interconnection between people • "The local is not defined by geographical boundaires but is understood as any small-scale arena in which social meanings are informed and adjusted" • how do issues affect the health of people? ◦ what is it about war that affects people's health? ◦ scarcity of food, shortage of health supplies, instability can affect education for children, reduced to poverty because of their lack of education, ethnic-based violence, civil war, poor sanitation in refugee camps, child soldiers, psychological trauma, rape as a weapon, genocide, etc Definition of Global Health • Global health is an area of research and practice that endeavours to link health, broadly conceived as a dynamic state that is an essential resource for life and well-being, to assemblages of global processes, recognizing that these assemblages are complex, diverse, temporally unstable, contingent, and often contested or resisted at different social scales Global Health (cont.) • Includes work that focusses on health inequities  • the distribution of resources intended to produce health and well-being, including: ◦ science and technology ◦ social identities related to health and biology ◦ the development and local consequences of global health policy ◦ the organization of health services ◦ the relationship of anthropogenic transformations of the biosphere to health ▪ changes to the environment (industrialization, chemical spills, development) ▪ marginalization, impoverishment, suffering bc of the development that goes to 1st world countries • Anthropology's role in global health: ◦ reduce global health inequities ◦ contribute to the development of sustainable and sociocultural, political, and economic systems AIDS • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome • Adisease of the human immune system caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) • transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding • First recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1981 ◦ seen as being the outcome of pneumonia and was only affecting homosexuals • Its cause, HIV infection, was identified in the early part of the decade ◦ resulted in a huge shift, big campaigns of awareness raising around what we know as HIV/AIDS today
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