Lectures

A Political Project and a Geopolitical Terrain: The New Referral Hospital Built by China in Niamey

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The first time I approached the new General Referral Hospital in Niamey in June 2018, I thought it looked like a prison building, huge and isolated in the landscape. After leaving the center of Niger’s capital, my colleague and I drove for 15–20 minutes, then turned left after the Gendarmerie Nationale; we found ourselves on an arid, …

Lectures

Spectacular Infrastructure: Madrid’s Pandemic Hospital between Public Spectacle and Speculation

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Design by okb-buro.com

On a fresh autumn day in 2019, under Madrid’s deep-blue sky, I went for a morning coffee with Ernesto, an infectious-disease physician working in one of Spain’s largest public university hospitals, located in the city center. At the time, I was doing fieldwork on the consequences of Spain’s austerity policies for public healthcare in Madrid. Before passing …

Lectures

A Hospital Without People in a Timor-Leste Community

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‘If you are bleeding a lot…go to hospital’. Cristiano, a community health volunteer gave a health seminar to 12 community members inside a dark concrete house, in a village outside a small town in Timor-Leste’s central mountains. Cristiano explained some of the danger signals to watch out for during pregnancy. ‘Go to hospital’, Cristiano repeated, as he described each symptom …

Lectures

Tommies: a very British haunt?

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Earlier this year, the world became familiar with the facade of Britain’s St Thomas’ Hospital when, in late March, it became the backdrop for breaking news. After UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, the BBC began broadcasting live bulletins from the hospital’s North Wing, where Johnson was convalescing in intensive care. …

Lectures

Wounded Attachments: Intimacy, Infrastructure, and Harm in the National Public Hospital

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The first thing you see from the highway is a massive building. The Hospital is simply enormous. In front of the Hospital plaza is a roundabout. In the center of the roundabout, a big flag of Argentina flies high: the white and light blue stripes encase the symbol of the smiling sun, moving in the wind on some days and …

Lectures

Ethnomedicinal Practices and Behavioral Changes During Deadly Disease Outbreaks: A Commentary and Lesson from Cameroon

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In mid-2014, six months after the death of patient zero, the two-year-old boy in the village of Meliandou in Guinea, there were frequent reports of Ebola spikes across Guinea and beyond other parts of West Africa. I had just defended my PhD and soon after was accepted for a postdoctoral fellowship at Rhodes University, South Africa for the following year. In …