On Global Health Now

I’m thinking through a more substantial post about the ethics and politics of the ongoing conflict in and around Gaza — it is at once right in my academic interest, in its relation to biopolitics and social justice, but it’s so polarizing and complex I want to be sure my thoughts on the matter are measured.

In the meantime, I thought I would offer up some thoughts on an underreported series of events going on in South Africa.

Lost in the clamor over Gaza, Ukraine, and Syria, the Ebola scare in Sierra LeoneĀ is really suffering from a dearth of news coverage. The global health ramifications there are startling (and the country is already overburdened by the medical and logistical nightmare). There are reports that several individuals who tested positive for Ebola are unaccounted for and likely in the general population. That idea is the stuff of horror film beginnings; however, it does emphasize something that we easily forget in the face of the moralization of health: the infected are people with actions, desires, feelings, and connections of their own. That is not to say that this is a good thing — certainly the preventable spread of deadly disease anywhere is terrifying and tragic — but the inability of public health services to quarantine and track those with Ebola speaks at once to inequities in the distribution of global health (and the attention of global media, both of which are concentrated in the Global North and Global West), and it speaks to the impossibility of quarantine (as totalizing control).

I’ll be back in the relatively near future with a post on “Ethical Defense” (also the title of my final dissertation chapter — don’t worry, I won’t give much of that away) as it relates to Gaza.

One of the reports on ebola:


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