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Tuberculosis: more anthropologists wanted

In Uncategorized on January 2, 2016 at 10:15 am

Culture Matters

Nhat preparing a sample to be tested in the GeneXpert system Nhat preparing a sample to be tested in the GeneXpert system

If tuberculosis (TB) is so often described as the quintessential social disease, why aren’t more researchers in the social sciences and humanities studying this global problem? Anthropologists are able to add valuably to research design and public policy in diverse cultural settings. A volume on Anthropology of infectious disease by Peter Brown and Marcia Inhorn highlights some of anthropology’s key lessons when it comes to infection and disease–lessons that anthropologists should be applying more liberally to the problem of TB around the world. TB remains second only to AIDS as the biggest infectious killer in the world despite the availability of effective treatment. Almost a hundred years ago, Halilday Sutherland, a protegé of Sir Robert Philip, expressed in a 1917 speech that the largest obstacles to the elimination of tuberculosis were man-made. Cultural barriers, poverty, and the…

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