Globalization and development in African contexts are bound up with the distribution of (medical) technologies. This panel discusses how these technologies are creatively adopted, disseminated and appropriated and shape health-related experiences, practices and relationships.
Globalization and development in the field of medicine and health in African contexts are closely bound up with the distribution, use and appropriation of various technologies. These include both medical technologies (like scanners or assisted conception) and those which are not specifically designed for medical purposes, but are used within these fields (e.g. mobile phone-based reminders to take medicines; solar energy for storing vaccines; or the internet for patient information and advocacy groups). Both types of technologies have a potentially enormous impact on people's understandings, experiences, practices, and the meanings they attach to health and illness; they may also affect the way patients relate and interact with each other, with healthcare providers, their relatives, policy makers, and others. While these technologies travel within certain global power geometries and linked (health) policies, providers and users are creative in adopting, disseminating and putting technologies to work in the area of health and medicine (e.g. adapting ultrasound to local needs or re-organizing hygiene-associated issues in operation theatres). The aim of this panel is to bring together papers providing ethnographic insights into the creative use of technologies in arenas of health and medicine and how this articulates locally, nationally and globally with health-related understandings, experiences, practices and relationships.