Jacinta Victoria Syombua Muinde
Medical anthropology; critical global health; moral and political economies of health, welfare, and development; humanitarianism; state and citizenship; gender; kinship; ethics of care; cash transfers; health insurance; universal health coverage (UHC).
Regional: Kenya; East Africa.
My current research is part of the "COVID-19, Universal Health Coverage and the Kenyan health system – a collaborative ethnographic study" funded by the Research Council of Norway. This study explores ethnographically how rural and urban communities in Western Kenya have experienced COVID-19 pandemic, anti-epidemic measures, and how these are shaping relations within and between people, and with the state and the healthcare system, as well as people’s perspectives on the virus and the pandemic. Kenya has a long history of community health interventions and public health controls to manage outbreaks such as sleeping sickness, cholera, malaria, small pox and HIV/AIDS. In western Kenya where this study is conducted, epidemic and anti-epidemic measures (HIV/AIDS and TB treatment programmes, Ebola preparedness exercise just before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic) have been far more present than many other parts of the country. However, the rationale and intensity in which COVID-19 protective measures continue to be implemented and engaged is quite different from previous outbreaks in western Kenya, and the duration they will continue to be used or to be part of peoples’ lives is still unknown. The ongoing, and continually changing and evolving pandemic situation triggers questions concerning how people are experiencing and engaging the anti-epidemic measures and the healthcare system itself. These are the central questions this research investigates.
As a post-doctoral research fellow, based at the Institute of Health and Society, within the European Research Council funded project titled “Universal Health Coverage and the Public Good in Africa: An Anthropological Study”, my research focuses on Kenya and is concerned with the intersection of financial and social protection/welfare projects, specifically Universal Health Coverage (UHC), national health insurance and Cash Transfers (CTs) implemented recently by the government of Kenya. The study investigates how people engage with these social and financial protection projects; what notions these engender including conceptions of the state and citizenship; imaginations and negotiations of obligations/responsibility; and the new forms of solidarity that result from these. I also examine how the interaction between state and non-state healthcare interventions, and informal and kin networks of care in a matrilineal context in Kenya South Coast contribute to the ways healthcare is assumed, embodied and contested in the local context.
My PhD research (as a Commonwealth Scholar) at the University of Cambridge explored how cash transfer schemes in a matrilineal and Islamic context in the Kenya South Coast informed women’s economic lives and their narratives of ill health, impacted on gender relations and contributed to kin-making relations. This research has been awarded the Royal Anthropological Institute's Sutasoma Award and The Audrey Richards Prize by the African Studies Association of the UK(ASAUK). My previous work investigated the history of poverty interventions and the emergence of cash transfer schemes as a new welfare intervention in Kenya.
- B.A in Anthropology, Maseno University, Kenya
- MPhil in Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge
- PhD in Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge
- Prior to my research position at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo (UiO), I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Health and Society, UiO.
Royal Anthropological Institute's Sutasoma Award for outstanding PhD research (2018)
The Audrey Richards Prize 2020 by the ASAUK (African Studies Association of the UK) for the best PhD dissertation in African Studies
PhD Course: MF9295 Global Health (Epidemics and their Control)
Masters Course: INTHE4117 Global Epidemics
Books, Chapters & Articles
'Pains and Energies: Women, cash transfers and the moral economy of care in Kenya’s south coast.' Medical Anthropology Quarterly. (Under Review)
2018. 'Winning women’s hearts: women, patriarchy and electoral politics in Kenya’s South Coast' in Nanjala Nyabola and Marie-Emanuelle Pommerolle (eds) Where women are: gender & the 2017 Kenyan elections. Nairobi: Twaweza Communications, pp.152-189.
Non-peer reviewed articles and blogs
2020. 'Health Insurance for the poor: Insights from the Kenyan Coast.' Somatosphere. http://somatosphere.net/2020/health-insurance-poor-kenya.html/
2017. 'Digo women, patriarchy and elections in the Kenya South Coast.' Gender Forum, Heinrich Böll Stiftung. https://ke.boell.org/en/2017/08/29/digo-women-patriarchy-and-elections-kenya-south-coast
Monograph: Economies of Care: Women, Cash Transfers and Matrilineal Relations in Kenya South Coast.
'Hopeful Living: Citizenship and the crisis of healthcare in Kenya.'
'Eating and sharing: Universal Health Coverage, citizenship and narratives of ‘free’ public healthcare in Kenya.'
'Care Solidarities: Digital technology and navigating Kenya’s national health insurance.'
'Precarious care? Paradoxes of health insurance and the pursuit of ‘health care for all’ in Kenya.'