Blog Post Week 2 – The single story of Africa and disease.

Disease in Africa is this weeks readings focus, particularly Aids and Ebola. Connecting this to last week there is a connection between disease in Africa and Chimamanda Ngozi’s The Danger of a Single Story. The idea of disease outbreaks in Africa have become the single story that outsiders have. Aids was very much seen as the ‘Single Story in the past, while Ebola has become the recent ‘Single Story’. Both are very prevalent in the media and there is a lot of negativity behind that story. Many people will surely think of disease when thinking of Africa, this was the warning of Ngozi, and should be taken seriously to ensure that Africa is not seen as negative for the foreseeable future. The readings look at disease and its effect from different perspective. The film gives the first hand, ‘real’ perspective on the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa. It explains that the conflict around Gulu has caused issues with the community receiving medical supplies and help. The articles comment on different difficulties that Africa has had with the practice of disease control. The article by Burchart et al, explains the relationship of religion in disease control, citing that many religious groups offer aid similar to NGO’s in Africa, while some also create bigger issues. Religious aid is positive because it is not state controlled, it is able to help certain people and communities rather then just the states, but not being state controlled lacks the checks and continuation of previous government funded aid for disease control. The other two articles are perspectives of anthropologists use in disease control. Notes from case zero explains that anthropologists were helpful in studying practices and traditions of the people effected by Ebola, and were helpful in the study of the cause and origin of the recent Ebola outbreak. The article by Abramowitz is a list of ten things anthropologists can do in disease control, they range from teaching, to studying, to communicating. Though nothing has to do with any medical help. Are anthropologists actually helpful then in disease control? The interesting point here is that both articles are anthropologists making their case to be part of disease control. The arguments they make are very important from their perspective and as Saez et al points out there is always a need for help in these situations. Connecting these three articles and short film the lack of a central figurehead in disease control is obvious a flaw in the system. There needs to be an authority over the use of aid, creating a central plan to follow. Religious aid we see is not centralized in anyway and there is little control from say the WHO on how religions act in disease control. Anthropologists add just another piece to the already confusing puzzle of disease control in Africa. While anthropology can be useful in these situations, without central control by the health perspective the use may be counter to what is needed. Anthropologists will listen to anthropologists, or worse yet attempt to take charge of situations they have no use being in. Religious aid will do the same, as seen in the article by Burchart et al. How important is a central agency for all disease prevention and disease control aid in Africa? With a more efficient system where all groups work together under the leadership of a single plan the streamlined work that can be done will greatly improve the outcome disease outbreaks.

What are the connections to Chimamanda Ngozi’s Single story theory, with disease in Africa?
What is the importance if any to a central agency/institution in disease control?

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