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When People Come FirstCritical Studies in Global Health$
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João Biehl and Adriana Petryna

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157382

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157382.001.0001

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A Salvage Ethnography of the Guinea Worm

A Salvage Ethnography of the Guinea Worm

Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic in a Disease Eradication Program

Chapter:
(p.207) 8 A Salvage Ethnography of the Guinea Worm
Source:
When People Come First
Author(s):

Amy Moran-Thomas

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691157382.003.0011

This chapter takes the program for the eradication of the guinea worm in northern Ghana as a launching point from which to examine the different epistemologies at work in global health initiatives. It teases out the ways in which the local landscape of health care is changed and imagined through such initiatives, and the ways in which people actively engage with them, transforming biology and magic into heuristics for one another. By collecting remnants of worm stories, traditions still remembered but no longer believed, fading memories, or chance moments, the author in part seeking to critically document a seminal moment in public health—a field with a notoriously short memory—in hopes that the experiences gained from this historical eradication program may hold lessons for future policy efforts. It is also an attempt to create a record of the living guinea worm itself, the human struggles it has crystallized and fragments of stories from the people, politics, and places it traveled through for centuries.

Keywords:   Ghana, guinea worm, global health, public health, health care, disease eradication programs

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