Global Health and the Demands of the Day

Meg Stalcup, Stéphane Verguet


We have two goals in this paper: first, to provide a diagnosis of global health and underline some of its blockages; second, to offer an alternative interpretation of what the demands for those in global health may be. The assumption that health is a "good" that requires no further explanation, and that per se it can serve as an actual modus operandi, lays the foundations of the problem. Related blockages ensue and are described using HIV prevention with a focus on vaginal microbicides as a case study. Taking health as a self-evident, and self-explanatory "good" limits other possible goods; and prevents further inquiry into the actual practices of creating good practices and good measures. We propose that to create conditions under which global health could be reconstructed, "problematization" be taken up as a practice, around a series of questions asked in conjunction with those ever-urgent ones of how to ameliorate the condition of living beings.


global health; public health; HIV/AIDS; vaginal microbicides; anthropology; ethics

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