“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” said Ann Swidler, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Ann Swidler quoted his famous quote for the title of his talk on major misconceptions about global health issues.
Swidler kicks off Monday with the Spring 2023 segment of the Global Health Politics Workshop at Boston University’s Purdy School of Global Studies, “Paved with Good Intentions: The Dilemma of Global Health Policy and Care in Malawi’s High Viral Burden HIV Clinic.” Did. , January 30.
Despite the scientific nature of her research, Swidler notes that she does not have a background in global health. He said the background allows him to “see what other people weren’t looking for”. There is a disconnect with the reality of life in Africa.
“The idea of trying to change the lives of people who have never been understood before is morally distasteful and stupid,” said Swidler.
Swidler said her curiosity about how the efficiencies of institutions around the world differed was what drew her to her research. Her particular interest in HIV in African settings and the inefficiencies of her AIDS treatment motivated her to spend nearly 20 years on her HIV research in sub-Saharan Africa. she said.
According to the World Health Organization, HIV is a virus that weakens the body’s ability to fight infection. If left untreated, HIV can transform into her AIDS, leaving infected people vulnerable to many other serious illnesses. As of 2021, WHO estimates that there are 38.4 million people living with HIV worldwide, about 990,000 of whom live in Malawi.
Nicolette Manglos-Weber, assistant professor of religion and society at BU’s seminary, said she worked closely with Swidler in 2006 to research the spread of HIV, treatment, prevention, and Malawians’ perceptions of the disease. rice field.
“HIV has been said to be a disease of poverty,” said Manglos-Weber. “This is a highly treatable and viable condition with appropriate financial and public health support.”
According to WHO, HIV treatment usually includes antiretroviral therapy to protect the immune system, reduce mortality and improve quality of life for those infected.
But Malawi is a different story. Swidler said the country’s clinics were not treating her acute case of HIV adequately, and in 2019 she and her fellow researchers spent the summer trying to understand why. The research, which included interviews, field notes, and observations, culminated in “a very good analysis of what the problem is” presented by Swidler at the workshop.
Joseph Harris, Associate Professor of Sociology at BU, said he hopes to draw attention to organizational issues and provide a space for academics and practitioners to share their work. Established the Tics Workshop.
“Often, the answers to global health problems can sit on a shelf somewhere and collect dust if they are not practiced or thought in relation to real-world problems.
According to the Purdy School of Global Studies website, the series of lectures will continue through the spring, stating that “the study of the political science of global health issues will help advance the human condition and ensure a better future.” How can I contribute?”
Harris said this semester’s lectures, including Swidler’s, will focus on “how and why politics are important in ultimately understanding, explaining, and dealing with various problems in the world.” said he believes it shows
Similarly, Swidler emphasized the importance of devoting time, resources and understanding to global public health research.
“[The global health study]has reduced infant mortality, greatly increased life expectancy, vaccinated nearly everyone on the planet against polio, and ended river blindness,” she said. rice field. “The amount that global public health has achieved is staggering.”