I am currently a postdoctoral fellow on the ERC-funded project Universal Health Coverage and the Public Good in Africa.
My research considers how Universal Health Coverage – as both a set of policies and a distinctive moral aspiration – is being promoted and imagined in present-day Zambia. In particular, I am interested in the government’s ambition to encourage “health promotion” in rural Zambia which will involve training a new cohort of 5,000 community health workers by 2025. My research will explore the lives and experiences of these health workers and the people they care for in rural Zambia. I am interested in the following questions: How do the moral ambitions and religious commitments of these health workers shape their understanding of “health promotion” and Universal Health Coverage? Will the moral idea of Universal Health Coverage enable new forms of claim-making, expectations of care, and ideas about the responsibility of the state to emerge? And what position will rural populations occupy within Zambia’s overall push to achieve Universal Health Coverage?
I have previously conducted ethnographic research at a mission hospital in southern Zambia. In this work, I considered the lives and experiences of the various people who encountered one another at this hospital – including rural patients, volunteer medical missionaries from the United States, and Zambian health professionals (i.e. nurses, laboratory technicians, and clinical officers). This research examined the different moral and religious perceptions that emerged in these unequal encounters; forms of claim-making among patients and their relatives; the development of relationships of obligation and dependence within the hospital; and the enduring ‘afterlives’ of missionary medicine in the region.
Humanitarianism; biomedicine; morality and ethics; welfare; Christianity; missionaries; Zambia; southern Africa.
PhD course: Introduction to Medical Anthropology (HES9280).