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How can we explain, and narrow the gap between grand visions outlined in policies and the wishes of people seeking healthcare? What trade-offs are made in trying to reconcile divergent healthcare-related priorities? If caring for health is a responsibility, who does this responsibility belong to?
As understandings of health, disease, and wellbeing are influenced by an increasingly complex landscape of competing cultural, social, political, technological, and economic agendas, it is worth exploring the understandings of responsibility driving these interests from an anthropological perspective. Many of these agendas are articulated through categories that do not readily translate into each other, creating opportunities for frictions and misunderstandings. Nonetheless, various new health policies and programmes are regularly created and rolled out, sometimes with little input from those expected to implement them. An important example is that of "patient-centred care": it might be an often-used phrase, but how it fits into expectations of meeting numerical patient targets at a regional or national level is often obscured. How can we describe, explain, and narrow the gap between grand visions outlined in policies and the wishes of individuals seeking basic healthcare? What trade-offs are made as a result of healthcare professionals, policymakers, and patients trying to reconcile divergent priorities? Can anthropological input help to organise healthcare delivery systems in ways that are not only more efficient and less prone to adverse effects but also more humane? If caring for health is a responsibility, who does this responsibility belong to?We invite papers exploring the tensions of different priorities driving healthcare policies and ways of implementing them, with the notion of responsibility as an analytical lens. Papers discussing healthcare delivery in non-Euro-American contexts are particularly welcome.