Accepted paper:

Jomoro Health District and tuberculosis: a new intervention between biomedical and traditional treatments


Elisa Vasconi (University of Siena)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will examine how the Jomoro Health District, in the Western Region of Ghana, faced tuberculosis enhancing pharmacological treatments through a new health strategy aimed to integrate orthodox and traditional medicine.

Paper long abstract:

The paper will examine a specific case-study observing how the Jomoro Health District, in the Nzema area - Western Region of Ghana - faced tuberculosis. In Ghana, still today this disease is very common in rural and marginal areas, even if the Ministry of Health tried to promote curative and preventive treatments. At the beginning of 2000s, in the Jomoro District most of the patients left biomedical treatments of tuberculosis putting themselves into the hands of traditional healers. So, in 2006, the Jomoro Health District Directorate organized meetings among health personnel and traditional healers of the area. This action inaugurated a new health strategy of intervention and control aiming to enhance national programs, not so efficacious in the Nzema area. Why were pharmacological treatments left by local people? Why did not medical projects had positive results in a marginal territory characterized by a relevant medical pluralism? The paper will aim to answer these questions; to examine the reasons why Jomoro Health District promoted a new health strategy, different from national tuberculosis programs and alternative to the national health political economy; to analyze the subjects discussed during the meetings among district staff and traditional healers; to think about the results of this tentative to support pharmacological treatments with a strategy aimed to integrate different medical traditions. Finally, this case-study leads to discuss how anthropology could be useful not only to have in thinking about the relations between culture and economy with regards to tuberculosis, but above all to propose new health projects to be adjusted to different local contexts.

panel P11
Infectious disease and wealth: exploring the links between tuberculosis and the political economy