Anthropology, Knowledge-Flows and Global Health
Global public health 2010 Mar ; 5(2): 122-8
Global health programmes are damaged by blockages in the upward flow of information from localities and regional centres about realities of professional practice and about patients' lives and conditions of treatment. Power differentials between local actors and national or international decision-makers present further obstacles to effective action. Anthropological research and action, in its most effective current forms, make important contributions to these issues. This research often continues over the long term, intensively. It can be multi-sited, studying actors at local, national and international levels simultaneously. It studies the relative knowledge and power of impoverished patients and global decision-makers, all within a single frame. By doing so, anthropological research is capable of providing new and important insights on the diverse meanings of patient decision-making, informed consent, non-compliance, public health reporting, the building of political coalitions for health and many other issues.
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