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Non-Communicable Diseases in Northern Uganda

This project explores issues of chronic medication through a comparative study of rational use of medicines in the management of depression, PTSD, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Emerging results include the following points:

  1. While much attention has been devoted to the supply and significance of medicines for chronic conditions, the availability and use of instruments for measuring and monitoring are also revealing windows for understanding how chronic conditions take on social existence.
  2. The organization of care at health units (eg special clinic days for some diseases) is also productive of the cultural and social significance of chronic conditions.
  3. Different chronic conditions have different social lives in the health care system—the most obvious comparison being HIV/AIDS and the different types of NCD.
  4. The relations between commercial interests (eg the glucometer jungle), the enclaves of projectification, and the public health care system must be unpacked.
  5. The ’early adopters’ of hypertension and diabetes are the health care workers, many of whom have achieved diagnosis and treatment, and the better placed people, who have connections. The spread within these categories, and from them to others, should be analysed in greater detail.

Disciplines and researchers involved:

Pharmacy, Social Anthropology, Psychiatry,

Involved researchers:

Alice Lamwaka and Thomas Okello Oyok from Gulu Faculty of Medicine, Susan Reynolds Whyte from anthropology at KU, and Lotte Meinert at AU, and Sung-Joon Park, PhD student at Wittenberg University

Publication and dissemination

SR Whyte. Chronicity and Control: Framing ‘noncommunicable diseases’ in Africa. Special issue ‘Medical anthropology in Europe: shaping the field’ Anthropology & Medicine 19 (1) 2012

SR Whyte. The publics of the New Public Health: life conditions and ‘lifestyle diseases’ in Uganda. In: Ruth Prince & Rebecca Marsland (eds.) Changing States of Public Health in Africa: Ethnographic Perspectives. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press. Accepted

SR Whyte, A Lamwaka, S-J Park. The communicability of non-communicable diseases. Presentation at Workshop on Translating Global Health Technologies Kigali, February 2012. To be included in a journal special issue on “knowing the uses of medicines” edited by Richard Rottenburg

SR Whyte, A Lamwaka, S-J Park, T Oyok. Making chronic illness visible: diagnosing and treating NCDs in Northern Uganda. Planned journal article.

L Meinert, S-J Park, SR Whyte. The communicability of trauma in Northern Uganda. Planned journal article.

Find more information about the researchers in the Researchers and Assistants menu

Comments on content: 
Revised 2012.05.02

The ENRECA-Gulu University is a DANIDA funded project based in the city of Gulu in Northern Uganda.