Pia Juul Bjertrup
Keywords: Visibility, epidemics, suffered illness, inequality, hierarchies, global health, Burkina Faso
Within the last decades, infectious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Influenza A (H1N1), Ebola and most recently Covid-19 have demonstrated the risk and fear of global pandemics and thus epidemic preparedness and prevention have increasingly dominated the global health agenda. In the global South, the public health sector is increasingly allocating resources for improving epidemic preparedness rather than investing in quality public health care. Such global health priorities create hierarchies in relation to which diseases and health conditions are recognized, diagnosed and treated, and which ailments the public health system is capable of dealing with. Furthermore, it raises critical questions as to whom the global health agenda benefit and it provokes anthropological curiosity as to how populations in the global South experience and respond to such hierarchies. This is the background for my PhD project, where I examine how people in a peri-urban area of the capital Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso encounter global health priorities and hierarchies in their everyday engagement with public health services. Specifically, I examine the different means my interlocutors employ to navigate and negotiate inequalities and hierarchies in their encounters with public health care before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. The working title of the PhD project is (In)visible Epidemics: Negotiating hierarchies and inequalities during pandemic times in peri-urban Burkina Faso
The PhD project is affiliated with the interdisciplinary research project titled “EMERGING EPIDEMICS: Improving preparedness in Burkina Faso”, which is funded by Danida (grant number: 17-06-KU).
Supervisor: Helle Samuelsen
Read more about the Emerging Epidemics research project: https://anthropology.ku.dk/research/research-projects/current-projects/improving-preparedness-in-burkina-faso/