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Title: Mission, magic and medicalisation : an anthropological study into public health in contemporary Nepal
Author: Harper, Ian David.
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis examines the medicalisation of health and suffering in the district of Palpa in west central Nepal. The product of twenty months of ethnographic fieldwork, it explores issues around the introduction and institutionalisation of a number of public health programmes as well as the impact of the presence of a large mission hospital in the area. Specifically, the following areas and programmes are examined in detail: 1. The relationship between the introduction of a biomedical order of knowledge / practice and mission discourse. In what ways are mission ideology and medicine linked? What are some of the local perceptions about the presence of the mission hospital and the wider availability of medical services for the populace? 2. The introduction of the tuberculosis control strategy, Directly Observed Therapy Short-course (DOTS), and its institutionalisation through the public primary health care services, as part of a large research trial. As part of the globalised mandate to eliminate the disease, how has this policy been taken up in the district? 3. As an epistemological form, the one that impinges most on the practice of a range of so-called "traditional" healers is that of the emerging mental health services. The uptake of the diagnosis of "depression" is explored as it is used both by the staff in the mission hospital and more widely through the primary health care system. 4. The current commodification of disease is seen particularly through the national vitamin A capsule distribution programme. In what ways are both the representations of this problem, and the programme itself, complicit with the overwhelming commodification of health related issues in Nepal? 5. How have traditional healers been constituted in relation to the health of Nepal and its people? Aware that they are frequently placed under negative description, traditional healers adapt their practice accordingly. It is those people who are ill, and receive conflicting diagnoses, who have to negotiate this rapidly changing epistemological terrain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available