Mark your diary for Dr Melissa Parker’s seminar on the politics and anti-politics of neglected tropical diseases

We are delighted to announce our next SSHM Seminar Series event. Please mark your calendars to hear Dr. Melissa Parker (Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) speak about “The politics and anti-politics of neglected tropical diseases”.

When: Wednesday 15th October, 1300-1430

Where: Room STD/S0.13 (KCL Strand Building)

Abstract: Large amounts of funding are being allocated to the control of neglected tropical diseases. Strategies primarily rely on the mass distribution of drugs to adults and children living in endemic areas. The approach is presented as morally appropriate, technically effective and context-free. Drawing on research undertaken in East Africa, this paper discusses ways in which normative ideas about global health programmes are used to set aside social and biological evidence. In particular, there is a tendency to ignore local details, including information about actual drug take up. Ferguson’s thesis is a useful starting point for analysing why this happens, but is overly deterministic. Anti-politics discourse about healing the suffering poor shapes thinking and helps explain cognitive dissonance. However, use of such discourse is also a means of strategically promoting vested interests and securing funding. Whatever the underlying motivations, rhetoric and realities are conflated, with potentially counter-productive consequences.

Dr. Melissa Parker  is Reader in Medical Anthropology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has undertaken multi-disciplinary and collaborative research in African and European settings. A unifying theme is the study of global health and international development. Research questions have typically emerged from extensive periods of ethnographic fieldwork, and engage with global health policies and practice. Topics investigated include HIV/AIDS in the UK, mental health in war zones, health-related quality of life in Kenya, female circumcision in Sudan, and the control of neglected tropical diseases in Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.

We hope to see many of you at the talk!

For upcoming talks please see:

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