Accepted Paper:

Treatment-seeking behaviour for malaria in Tanzania - uncertainty and trust in a new remedy  


Caroline Meier zu Biesen (Cermes3 (Centre de recherche médecine, sciences, santé et société, Paris)

Paper short abstract:

This paper reveals the dialectic construction of uncertainty, trust, and efficacy towards the large scale deployment of new generation anti-malarials such as Artemisinin-containing combination therapies (“ACTs”), being in opposition to the alternative usage of Artemisia-tea in Tanzania.

Paper long abstract:

Malaria is still the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Tanzania. Large amounts of resources have been invested to control it - especially through the rapid spread of Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). The new classes derive from the Chinese medicinal plant named Artemisia annua. However, limited health budgets, high costs of ACTs, experienced side-effects, the increasing trend of drug resistance, and the circulation of fake schizontozides raise critical public health concerns and uncertainty in the process of treatment-seeking. Alternatively to the consumption of ACTs, different actors (such as NGOs, traditional healers, churches) promote the feasibility of using the herbal tea-formulation of Artemisia annua as a more affordable and accessible natural practice for the curative therapy of malaria. On the basis of Steven Feierman´s concept of "relational efficacy" (2010), this paper analyzes how trust is attributed to the medicinal plant, contributing to assumptions of its efficacy and thus shaping a therapeutic solution in excessive demands of anti-malarial healthcare.

Panel W132
Uncertainty and trust in medicines and therapeutic techniques