Amy Moran-Thomas ’
Trajectories of Medical Technology Distribution: A Comparative Ethnographic Study of Deworming Campaigns in Ghana and Belize
I am interested in the cultural dimensions of infectious disease, and my project combines ethnographic and archival research on the newly created category of “neglected tropical diseases.” This new emphasis in health policy began to affect both Ghana and Belize very directly in 2006, when they each began to widely distribute pharmaceuticals as part of new National Deworming Campaigns. The comparative nature of this study is intended to emphasize the distinct social factors that come into play in the local reception of health policy, by tracking essentially parallel programs in the contexts of two former British colonies.”
“While several anti-parasitic drugs (now donated by pharmaceutical corporations Merck and Glaxo-Smith Kline, respectively) are temporarily effective in combating intestinal parasites, local adults often hold their own beliefs regarding what causes such visible intestinal worm infections and how they are best cured. I am interested in exploring how pharmaceutical treatments are being received in such areas, and what lessons any conflicting beliefs or cultural tensions that emerge might hold for tropical health policy more broadly. How do international funding and global media attention play a role in shaping programs and the treatment resources available to community doctors and local families, or inflect their experiences of disease? My project explores the way that local perceptions of technology and medical need can dramatically affect the ways health programs are received-with the ultimate aim of illuminating both the intricacies of intercultural relations, and the life -shaping ways this knowledge might one day inform more culturally nuanced health policies.