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David Turkon (Anthropology) guest co-edits and publishes in special volume of African Journal of AIDS Research.
Contributed by Michael A. Malpass on 02/09/2010
David Turkon (Anthropology) and Alexander Rödlach of Creighton University, co-edited a special volume of the African Journal of AIDS Research (AJAR). The issue, which is Volume 8, Number 4, is sub-headed Interdisciplinarity and Collaboration in Responding to HIV and AIDS in Africa: Anthropological Perspectives. David was lead author on an article titled Anthropological perspectives on the challenges to monitoring and evaluating HIV and AIDS programming in Lesotho. He was also co-author on an article titled Addressing the HIV/AIDS–food insecurity syndemic in sub-Saharan Africa. A description of the special volume and citations and abstracts for the articles follow.
An underlying theme of the volume is how HIV and AIDS interventions implemented by NGOs and by governmental agencies are often uncoordinated and fragmented in ways that undermine the development of cohesive and comprehensive HIV/AIDS programming. These are problem areas in which anthropologists are ripe to make meaningful contributions because of the holistic nature of our approaches and the primacy we give to ethnographically grounded, emic understandings of cultural phenomena. Nowhere is this more important than in HIV and AIDS research where clinical models commonly come into tension with culturally oriented approaches to understanding and crafting intervention strategies. The papers published in this volume of AJAR work toward helping to reconcile these tensions and find ways to work across disciplinary boundaries in a large number of areas. Merrill Singer’s introduction places the different contributions within an integrative framework, and provides an invaluable overview of anthropological engagements with HIV and AIDS since inception of the pandemic. An overview of the volume is available at http://www.nisc.co.za/abstracts?id=1&absid=266
David Turkon, David Himmelgreen, Nancy Romero-Daza and Charlotte Noble (2009) “Anthropological perspectives on the challenges to monitoring and evaluating HIV and AIDS programming in Lesotho.” African Journal of AIDS Research, 8(4): 473–480.
This article focuses on how numerous international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) have stepped forward to provide services related to HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment in Lesotho. We highlight some widelyrecognized challenges associated with the INGO approach and describe how people working in that sector in Lesotho experience similar challenges, focusing especially on weak or inadequate monitoring and evaluation (M&E). Partially in response to such weaknesses, Lesotho is implementing its ‘Partnership Framework to SupportImplementation of the Lesotho National HIV and AIDS Response.’ A major goal for this initiative is to strengthenprocedures and methods for M&E. Through examination of a partnership that the authors are cultivating with Catholic Relief Services in Lesotho, we discuss some ways that anthropologists can contribute to formulating M&E processes and procedures that can provide sound measures of outcomes and have the potential to inform programdevelopment.
David A Himmelgreen, Nancy Romero-Daza, David Turkon, Sharon Watson, Ipolto Okello-Uma and Daniel Sellen (2009) “Addressing the HIV/AIDS–food insecurity syndemic in sub-Saharan Africa.” African Journal of AIDS Research, 8(4): 401–412.
Recently a few vocal health experts have suggested that some of the billions of dollars currently used to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS be reallocated to address more basic problems such as malnutrition, tuberculosis, malaria, and enteric and diarrheal disease caused by lack of access to clean water. While not universally agreed upon, this reassessment of policy priorities acknowledges that there are multiple other health problems that deserve renewed attention from the international community. It also highlights the fact that the impacts of the HIV pandemic are exacerbated by widespread poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition, and gender inequality. Nowhere is this more evident than in sub-Saharan Africa, where multiple epidemics conflate and seriously compromise the survival of individuals and communities. Given the widespread occurrence of famine in sub-Saharan Africa, issues of food and economic security become of paramount importance in efforts to address the region’s HIV epidemics. This paper examines the historical, political-economic, and cultural dimensions of the HIV epidemic in the context of the growing problem of food and economic insecurity. Furthermore, using theoretical frameworks that emphasize the dynamic interrelation between HIV/AIDS and food insecurity, we present suggestions for combining traditional HIV-prevention strategies with food production and nutrition education programming. In light of the complex interactions between HIV/AIDS and food insecurity and the lack of accessible treatment modalities, such programming could potentially reduce the risk for transmission of HIV through behavioral changes and improved nutritional and immune status, and increase the life expectancy of people living with HIV or AIDS.