Take a Stand

The following statements were written by the Critical Anthropology of Global Health working group. To access all prior statements from SMA, click here.

Take a Stand: Austerity

Responding to recent global financial crises and related austerity measures, the Critical Anthropology of Global Health (CAGH) Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Society for Medical Anthropology launched the Take a Stand (TAS) on Austerity initiative in 2013. Among the committee’s first steps has been drafting a brief statement and bibliography to help define the scope of the TAS on Austerity initiative and to brainstorm how anthropologists can get more involved. Drafts of the working statement and bibliography are currently available online for SMA members as well as other anthropologists to review and provide feedback. Anthropologists of all subdisciplines are highly encouraged to visit CAGH’s TAS on Austerity website and to participate in the ongoing discussion. The website may be accessed here. Questions or comments may also be directed to the committee chair Megan Carney, megcarney@gmail.com.

Take a Stand: Health Insurance Reform

The last two decades have witnessed fundamental changes in health insurance systems worldwide. In Latin America, pressure from global financial institutions has led to the introduction of managed care and the privatization of social security funds in Chile and Colombia (Abadía 2012). Similar pressures have led Eastern European nations to adopt private sector reforms to their formerly socialist health care systems (Ahlin 2012Mishtal 2012), while nations of western Europe are facing unprecedented challenges to their historic traditions of social insurance (Almeida 2012Castañeda 2012Larchanché 2012). Across the globe, notions of health as the “right” of the population –only enshrined in international conventions in the middle of the past century—have been challenged by the conversion of health into a privately-purchased commodity. These reforms entail a neoliberal transformation of the concept of governance itself, a resurgence of the role of the private sector in the public provision of health, and a re-conceptualization of the varying responsibilities of the individual, the corporation, and the state…

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Take a Stand: What can critical medical anthropology contribute to global health: A health systems perspective

The flow of international aid from wealthier to poorer countries has increased dramatically over the last decade, and is attributable in part to the efforts of health activists, including medical anthropologists, who have rendered bare the realities of health disparities and human suffering. We are now facing an unprecedented moment in the history of global health, in which infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis are no longer peripheral concerns, but primary targets of bilateral aid programs, philanthropy, and research. Emergent health problems range from antibiotic resistance to tobacco use, SARS and Avian Flu, to the flow of health professionals from developing to developed countries. These demand global solutions, challenge the internal sovereignty of nation states, and involve new sets of actors, networks, partnerships and transnational health initiatives.

Click herefor details and background readings.