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Anthropological Contributions to International Health

As mentioned in our April 25th blog post in honor of  World Malaria Day, AAA recognized this important day with a special virtual issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly. This special edition re-released articles which demonstrate ways that ethnography and human behavior studies help to change care management and public health policy.

Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, particularly those living in lower-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO calculates that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria. By joining the global movement to roll back these staggering statics on malaria, anthropologists serve as catalyst around the world to research the medical and cultural impacts of this disease and share their findings to help count malaria out.

In the past weeks, each article has been featured here on the AAA blog. Here is the final of seven highlighted articles:

Urbanization, Dengue, and the Health Transition: Anthropological Contributions to International Health
Carl Kendall, Patricia Hudelson, Elli Leontsini, Peter Winch, Linda Lloyd and Fernando Cruz
Medical Anthropology Quarterly, September 1991

A host of resurgent diseases, many in newly created urban environments, challenges the assumptions underlying anthropological contributions to international public health programs. Past programs validated local knowledge about acute and well-known disease conditions and encouraged self-help and participatory approaches to respond to these problems. This article discusses the changing picture of health conditions in urban settings by examining local responses to one problem, dengue hemorrhagic fever, in a new program designed to test several earlier assumptions.

To read the entire article, click here.

The Ethnoecology of Dengue Fever

As mentioned in our April 25th blog post in honor of  World Malaria Day, AAA recognized this important day with a special virtual issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly. This special edition re-released articles which demonstrate ways that ethnography and human behavior studies help to change care management and public health policy.

Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, particularly those living in lower-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO calculates that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria. By joining the global movement to roll back these staggering statics on malaria, anthropologists serve as catalyst around the world to research the medical and cultural impacts of this disease and share their findings to help count malaria out.

Over the coming weeks, each article will be featured here on the AAA blog. Here is the sixth of seven highlighted articles:

The Ethnoecology of Dengue Fever
Linda Whiteford
Medical Anthropology Quarterly, June 1997

This article employs an ethnoecological analysis to link indigenous, ethnomedical, and Western biomedical ideas of infectious disease causation/prevention. The ethnoecological analysis is expanded to include the cultural and historical context of political will and community participation in dengue fever control activities in an urban neighborhood in the Dominican Republic. Findings indicate that a key source of dengue fever transmission has been overlooked because it falls between established gender-role boundaries, and that mala union, an explanatory concept central to the failure of previous community-based interventions, emerges from local views of national political history.

To read the entire article, click here.

Examples from Malaria Control in Refugee Camps

As mentioned in our April 25th blog post in honor of  World Malaria Day, AAA recognized this important day with a special virtual issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly. This special edition re-released articles which demonstrate ways that ethnography and human behavior studies help to change care management and public health policy.

Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, particularly those living in lower-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO calculates that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria. By joining the global movement to roll back these staggering statics on malaria, anthropologists serve as catalyst around the world to research the medical and cultural impacts of this disease and share their findings to help count malaria out.

Over the coming weeks, each article will be featured here on the AAA blog. Here is the fifth of seven highlighted articles:

A Practical Discussion of Applied Public Health Research in the Context of Complex Emergencies: Examples from Malaria Control in Refugee Camps
Holly Ann Williams and Peter B. Bloland
NAPA Bulletin, May 2001

This article offers examples from malaria control research because malaria is a pressing public health problem in many emergency situations, both those caused by conflict as well as by natural disasters. Each year there are an estimated 300-500 million clinical cases of malaria worldwide and, depending on the epidemiologic conditions, health and social consequences from malaria can be quite severe, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

To read the entire article, click here.

Healing Herbs and Dangerous Doctors

As mentioned in our April 25th blog post in honor of  World Malaria Day, AAA recognized this important day with a special virtual issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly. This special edition re-released articles which demonstrate ways that ethnography and human behavior studies help to change care management and public health policy.

Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, particularly those living in lower-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO calculates that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria. By joining the global movement to roll back these staggering statics on malaria, anthropologists serve as catalyst around the world to research the medical and cultural impacts of this disease and share their findings to help count malaria out.

Over the coming weeks, each article will be featured here on the AAA blog. Here is the fourth of seven highlighted articles:

Healing Herbs and Dangerous Doctors: “Fruit Fever” and Community Conflicts with Biomedical Care in Northeast Thailand
Jen Pylypa
Medical Anthropology Quarterly, December 2007

In Northeast Thailand, khai mak mai (fruit fever) is a local, ethnomedical category of illness identified by community members as untreatable by biomedical health providers. The illness is believed to be incompatible with several substances that may induce death, including fruit as well as two forms of medication associated with biomedical care: injections and intravenous solution. Consequently, fevers suspected of being khai mak mai are treated by herbalists while biomedical health services are avoided and feared. In this article, I examine local perceptions and treatment of khai mak mai. I also explore the context and consequences of concerns about the inadequacy of biomedical care, as well as the social meanings associated with the illness and the political-economic context that shapes both the meanings of, and everyday responses to, fevers suspected of being khai mak mai.

To read the entire article, click here.

Anthropology and Environmental Policy: What Counts

As mentioned in our April 25th blog post in honor of  World Malaria Day, AAA recognized this important day with a special virtual issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly. This special edition re-released articles which demonstrate ways that ethnography and human behavior studies help to change care management and public health policy.

Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, particularly those living in lower-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO calculates that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria. By joining the global movement to roll back these staggering statics on malaria, anthropologists serve as catalyst around the world to research the medical and cultural impacts of this disease and share their findings to help count malaria out.

Over the coming weeks, each article will be featured here on the AAA blog. Here is the third of seven highlighted articles:

Anthropology and Environmental Policy: What Counts
Susan Charnley and William H. Durham
American Anthropologist, September 2010

In this article, we call for enhanced quantitative and environmental analysis in the work of environmental anthropologists who wish to influence policy. Using a database of 77 leading monographs published between 1967 and 2006, 147 articles by the same authors, and a separate sample of 137 articles from the journal Human Organization, we document a sharp decline over the last ten years in the collection and use of quantitative and environmental data within environmental anthropology. These declines come at the same time that environmental anthropologists are aiming at greater policy relevance. We use the case of the Polonoroeste Project in the Brazilian Amazon and its impact on World Bank policy as a concrete example of the advantages of fortifying the quantitative and environmental side of our work. We conclude by discussing ways to strengthen environmental anthropology to further enhance its policy relevance and impact.

To read entire article, click here.

Malaria, Danger, and Risk Perceptions among the Yao in Rural Malawi

As mentioned in our April 25th blog post in honor of  World Malaria Day, AAA recognized this important day with a special virtual issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly. This special edition re-released articles which demonstrate ways that ethnography and human behavior studies help to change care management and public health policy.

Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, particularly those living in lower-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO calculates that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria. By joining the global movement to roll back these staggering statics on malaria, anthropologists serve as catalyst around the world to research the medical and cultural impacts of this disease and share their findings to help count malaria out.

Over the coming weeks, each article will be featured here on the AAA blog. Here is the second of seven highlighted articles:

Malaria, Danger, and Risk Perceptions among the Yao in Rural Malawi
Annika Launiala and Marja-Liisa Honkasalo
Medical Anthropology Quarterly, September 2010

Findings from a study designed to discover how local understanding of malaria among Yao in Malawi relate to pregnancy risk definitions reveal that malaria in pregnancy is not perceived as a major risk. Using extended ethnographic field research and multiple methods, we argue a shift from narrow single-disease approaches to malaria during pregnancy is required and document women’s concerns about exposure to multiple vulnerabilities during pregnancy, including witchcraft, extramarital affairs, and multiple dangerous illnesses.

Click here to read the article.

Re-directing Health-seeking Behavior Studies on Malaria and Vulnerability

As mentioned last week on our blog, April 25th was World Malaria Day. AAA recognized this important day with a special virtual issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly. This special edition re-released articles which demonstrate ways that ethnography and human behavior studies help to change care management and public health policy.

Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, particularly those living in lower-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO calculates that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria. By joining the global movement to roll back these staggering statics on malaria, anthropologists serve as catalyst around the world to research the medical and cultural impacts of this disease and share their findings to help count malaria out.

Over the coming weeks, each article will be featured here on the AAA blog. Here is the first of seven highlighted articles:

The Straw that Breaks the Camel’s Back: Re-directing Health-seeking Behavior Studies on Malaria and Vulnerability
Joan Muela-Ribera.
Medical Anthropology Quarterly, March 2011

In the wake of the Millennium Development Goals, the focus on vulnerability and access to care has increasingly gained ground in the malaria social science literature. However, little emphasis has been given to the cumulative processes of vulnerability. In this article, we draw on ethnographic data, in particular on case studies, gathered in southeastern Tanzania in the 1990s and reexamine them in the context of vulnerability. We analyze the underpinnings of the cumulative dimension of vulnerability at three levels: (1) structural, that is, elements that determine access to material and social resources; (2) agent driven, that is, the consequences of coping strategies that enhance vulnerability; and (3) conjunctural, that is, periods characterized by the confluence of adverse circumstances. We argue that the analysis of cumulative processes of vulnerability paints a more comprehensive picture of people’s struggle for health. This opens up a more systemic and dynamic perspective on access to care for disadvantaged populations.

Read the entire article here.

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