Vital Signs

Medical Anthropology in the Twenty-first Century

Authored by: Lenore Manderson , Anita Hardon , Elizabeth Cartwright

The Routledge Handbook of Medical Anthropology

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138015630
eBook ISBN: 9781315794198
Adobe ISBN: 9781317743781


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In the fall of 2011 and early winter 2012, I spent time in the DRC with a local NGO. I had three objectives: observing the national election, as an international election observer; tutoring children who had experienced interruptions in schooling; and helping implement AIDS and mental health group interventions with women and children affected by ongoing genocide. Maria, pictured here, was a beneficiary of the community reconciliation program in Kinshasa. Now 25, she was displaced and unaccompanied from the eastern DRC at the age of eight. Interventions must often facilitate socioeconomic opportunity in addition to counseling, medicines or psychoeducation. Our NGOs collective offers training for women to learn a trade, so that they can exit livelihoods as prostitutes on the streets. Maria reflects: J’ai plus personne dans ma vie. Cette collective est devenue comme famille (“I have no-one left anymore in my life. This collective has become my new home”).

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