G-local Health

From my newly launched blog: Schistosomiasis in Senegal.
The site is devoted to telling the story of (no surprise here) the waterborn parasitic disease of schistosomiasis in Senegal. After agonizing for years about how to tell the complexities of this story, I realized that a website could allow for a non-linear story form that could encompass the intertwining threads of dam development, disease outbreak, public health, biomedical research, my own personal development, and the ethics of international health at large at the turn of the 20th century.

Schistosomiasis in Senegal

Back in 1998, when I was a college student, I landed in Senegal, West Africa, to study international health.

What was international health?  Health in the context of a different nation–where dams and agricultural development and poverty and culture determined disease. Health “between” nations. One nation creating health for another. North-South Resourced-Underresourced Developed-Underdeveloped flow of information, bringing the knowledge of the exalted scientists of the United States and Europe to the needy Senegalese locals.

(This is exaggerating a little, but only a little.)

International health was born of imperial medicine, before growing into global and then glocal health.

Say “imperial medicine” and I imagine white doctors in the service of white plantation owners and merchants smoking cigars and sipping gin and tonics while figuring out parasitic cycles and how many mosquito nets they would need to buy to keep the local labor force sufficiently healthy to exploit it to the maximum. While avoiding catching tropical diseases themselves.


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