Development and Public Health in the Himalaya
Reflections on healing in contemporary Nepal
By Ian Harper
Routledge – 2013 – 164 pages
Engaging with a range of public health issues, this book charts important social and political transitions in Nepal through the lens of medicine and health development. It focuses on mission health care institutions, tuberculosis control programmes as a site of medical intervention, the "pharmaceuticalization" of mental health and public health, and in relation to development ideologies the attempted creation of modern subjects and citizens to advance the health of the nation.
Based on two decades of experience, both as a physician and public health professional and an anthropologist, the author presents these issues through four case studies of health programme intervention in a district in central Nepal to show the inter-related aspects of the processes. The book explains how local realities align with, resist, and are complicated by globalized narratives and practices of health and development. It pays careful attention to traditional healers, infectious disease, micronutrient initiatives, mental health and the historical, ideological, and political-economic context of mission-based development work.
Offering an ethnographic picture of the challenges and possibilities for action that exist in Nepal , this book is of interest to academics in the field of medical and development anthropology and those working directly in the fields of health and development.
"This is an excellent study "from the ground up," with the author’s twin disciplinary training resulting in a balanced appraisal of his subject, neither too theoretical nor too scientific, and one alive to the ambiguities of both medical and anthropological approaches." A. C. McKay, International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden
1. Introduction 2. Palpa and Its Healing Traditions 3. The view from the clinic 4. "Caught in the middle": Power, efficacy and healing 5. "It’s the Sweet Smell of Gold" – A Particular History of the Mission Hospital 6. Introducing Psychiatric Services 7. Capsular Promise as Public Health and the Vitamin A Programme 8. Creating Order from Treatment Chaos: Implementing Protocols and the Control of Tuberculosis
Ian Harper is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.