14 research outputs found

    ‘Most of the days is really, really good’: narratives of well-being and happiness among asylum seekers and refugees in the UK and the Gambia

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    This thesis demonstrates resilience and the ability to enjoy life despite hardships. While most studies of refugees and asylum seekers focus on issues of trauma and ill-health, this thesis attends to both positive and negative experiences that people experience due to a forced migration. Drawing on forty interviews as well as ethnographic observations, this thesis uses narrative and ethnographic methods to investigate the most salient factors contributing to well-being and happiness among African refugees and asylum seekers in two different urban environments: Newcastle-upon- Tyne in the UK and the greater Banjul area in the Gambia. I argue that through the stories these people told me about their lives, well-being and happiness can be subsumed under three main themes. The first theme of growth and meaning is one that features prominently in post-flight narratives. I show how people make sense of their lives and turn the negative experience of flight into something positive, meaningful and purposeful by using the concepts of posttraumatic growth and sense of coherence. The second theme of relational well-being is used to highlight the ambivalent role that various social relationships – families, friends and the wider community – have on an individual’s happiness. The third theme is temporal well-being. Specifically, I compare the two groups to explicate how perceptions of the passage of time in the present affect well-being and what the implications of an imagined future are for present happiness. Finally, I show how religion links these three themes together. This research primarily contributes to well-being and happiness studies where anthropology is underrepresented and to migration and refugee studies where it brings an ethnographic and narrative approach. Its interdisciplinary nature, and particularly the emphasis on qualitative methodologies, complements research in social psychology and sociology whose approaches to happiness and well-being tend to emphasise quantitative methods. This emphasis on quantitative methods risks missing the context and nuance that qualitative research adds. I argue that it is not only the methods which make the contribution of this research valuable, but also the multi-sited and comparative nature of it which offer unique insights in how diverse individuals strive for well-being and a good, happy life

    Teaching medical anthropology in UK medical schools: cultivating autoethnographic practice among medical students

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    Behavioural and social sciences (BSS) are a core component of undergraduate medical education in the United Kingdom. Despite the formal recognition of BSS by the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC), anthropology remains largely at the periphery in the medical curriculum. Medical students often describe it as ‘fluffy’ or as ‘common sense’, in comparison to biomedical learning content. To make anthropology more relevant and applicable to future clinical practice, we draw on ethnographic data (interviews, focus groups, field notes and reflective texts written by medical students) collected by an anthropologist during fieldwork in two UK medical schools. We suggest moving this content out of the preclinical phase and instead incorporating it into the clinical phase. Specifically, we propose that having students conduct a micro-autoethnography during the clinical phase brings together two crucial aspects of medical student training: BSS principles and formation of a professional identity. Embedding these concepts in this specific context will allow students to process tensions they may feel between interactions they observe in a clinical context and team versus what they have been formally taught. This process allows them to negotiate their own professional identity between practice and ideal while more robustly situating BSS content in a relevant and immediately applicable manner within the current constraints of the medical curriculum

    Betwixt and between student and professional identities: UK medical students during COVID times

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    The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Spring 2020 brought about unprecedented disruption to medical education in the United Kingdom (UK). Medical students were encouraged to take up paid roles in the National Health Service to help with workforce shortages. This article explores medical students’ views and experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic vis-à-vis their professional identity formation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 medical students from all five undergraduate years in one UK medical school, between April and June 2020. Three themes were generated: (1) disruption to medical education involving suspension of clinical placements, cancellation of assessments and ceremonial markers; (2) decision-making around joining the clinical workforce, decisions which were influenced by students’ sense of professional obligation, perceived personal gains, and health and safety considerations; (3) experiences of working in clinical settings during the pandemic, including reflections about managing risks and challenges, learning on the job and becoming a better doctor. The findings provide evidence that the UK’s first lockdown destabilised many medical students’ expectations tied to their educational and career trajectory, requiring them to improvise to address gaps in learning and professional development. Taking on a paid healthcare role catapulted them into a liminal period, working in a space ‘betwixt and between’ a medical student and healthcare professional. This swift readjustment of roles and responsibilities accelerated their identity formation as ‘future doctors’. Support for medical students around negotiating such dual role is important in present and future public health crises

    Exploring the cultural effects of gender on perceptions of cutaneous leishmaniasis: a systematic literature review

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    Background More than one million people each year become infected by parasites that cause the disease cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). This disease manifests as one or more skin lesions or ulcers that are slow to heal with variable response rates to drug treatments. Thus far, little attention has been paid to how the cultural effects of gender shape perceptions and experiences of CL. This review aims to bring together and analyse existing studies which use qualitative data to explore these differences. These studies offered insights into our specific research questions. Methods We conducted a systematic review of the literature pertaining to either CL or muco-cutaneous leishmaniasis (MCL) through EBSCO, EMBASE, Medline, Scopus and Web of Science databases. To meet inclusion criteria, articles had to be either qualitative or mixed-method with a qualitative component. They also had to include a reflection on how the gender of participants impacted the findings and addressed the lived experiences of CL. We did not exclude articles based on the language they were published in or in which country the study took place. Results From a total of 1589 potential articles, we found that thirteen met the inclusion criteria. These articles were published in English, Spanish or Portuguese and reported on studies carried out in various countries in Africa, Asia and South America. After using the principles of a meta-ethnography to analyse these studies, we generated several key themes. We found that health-seeking behaviours, treatment choices, stigma and the impact of scarring are shaped by gender in a variety of contexts. Conclusions Gender impacts on an individual’s experience of CL. In particular, women are more constricted in their health-seeking behaviours and experience more stigma both from the active lesions and from scarring than men. In many contexts, however, men are more at risk of becoming infected by the parasite that causes CL and may turn to more harmful or aggressive self-treatments. We recommend that future research on CL should consider the impact of gender as this can create very different experiences for individuals

    Community-based interventions for the prevention and control of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis: A systematic review

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    We reviewed the evidence on community-based interventions for the prevention and control of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). Community initiatives tailored towards awareness and mobilisation are regarded as a priority area in the Neglected Tropical Disease Roadmap 2021–2030 by the World Health Organization. We searched nine electronic databases for intervention-based studies. Two independent reviewers screened and assessed the articles for methodological quality using predefined criteria. We conducted a meta-analysis using a random effects model, along with narrative synthesis. Thirteen articles were eligible for inclusion, of which 12 were quantitative studies (quasi-experimental with control group and pre-post interventions) and one qualitative study. All articles reported on health education interventions aimed at changing people’s knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) in relation to CL. Participant groups included students, mothers, housewives, volunteer health workers, and residents in general. An increased score was recorded for all outcomes across all interventions: knowledge (SMD: 1.85, 95% CI: 1.23, 2.47), attitudes (SMD: 1.36, 95% CI: 0.56, 2.15), and practices (SMD: 1.73, 95% CI: 0.99, 2.47). Whilst our findings show that educational interventions improved people’s knowledge, attitudes, and practices about CL, we argue that this approach is not sufficient for the prevention and control of this disease. Knowledge does not always translate into action, particularly where other structural barriers exist. Therefore, we recommend the design of more innovative community-based interventions with a broader focus (e.g., stigma, financial barriers, and healthcare access

    Exploring the cultural effects of gender on perceptions of cutaneous leishmaniasis: a systematic literature review

    Get PDF
    Background: More than one million people each year become infected by parasites that cause the disease cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). This disease manifests as one or more skin lesions or ulcers that are slow to heal with variable response rates to drug treatments. Thus far, little attention has been paid to how the cultural effects of gender shape perceptions and experiences of CL. This review aims to bring together and analyse existing studies which use qualitative data to explore these differences. These studies offered insights into our specific research questions. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of the literature pertaining to either CL or muco-cutaneous leishmaniasis (MCL) through EBSCO, EMBASE, Medline, Scopus and Web of Science databases. To meet inclusion criteria, articles had to be either qualitative or mixed-method with a qualitative component. They also had to include a reflection on how the gender of participants impacted the findings and addressed the lived experiences of CL. We did not exclude articles based on the language they were published in or in which country the study took place. Results: From a total of 1589 potential articles, we found that thirteen met the inclusion criteria. These articles were published in English, Spanish or Portuguese and reported on studies carried out in various countries in Africa, Asia and South America. After using the principles of a meta-ethnography to analyse these studies, we generated several key themes. We found that health-seeking behaviours, treatment choices, stigma and the impact of scarring are shaped by gender in a variety of contexts. Conclusions: Gender impacts on an individual’s experience of CL. In particular, women are more constricted in their health-seeking behaviours and experience more stigma both from the active lesions and from scarring than men. In many contexts, however, men are more at risk of becoming infected by the parasite that causes CL and may turn to more harmful or aggressive self-treatments. We recommend that future research on CL should consider the impact of gender as this can create very different experiences for individuals

    Community based interventions for the prevention and control of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis : a systematic review

    Get PDF
    We reviewed the evidence on community-based interventions for the prevention and control of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). Community initiatives tailored towards awareness and mobilisation are regarded as a priority area in the Neglected Tropical Disease Roadmap 2021–2030 by the World Health Organization. We searched nine electronic databases for intervention-based studies. Two independent reviewers screened and assessed the articles for methodological quality using predefined criteria. We conducted a meta-analysis using a random effects model, along with narrative synthesis. Thirteen articles were eligible for inclusion, of which 12 were quantitative studies (quasi-experimental with control group and pre-post interventions) and one qualitative study. All articles reported on health education interventions aimed at changing people’s knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) in relation to CL. Participant groups included students, mothers, housewives, volunteer health workers, and residents in general. An increased score was recorded for all outcomes across all interventions: knowledge (SMD: 1.85, 95% CI: 1.23, 2.47), attitudes (SMD: 1.36, 95% CI: 0.56, 2.15), and practices (SMD: 1.73, 95% CI: 0.99, 2.47). Whilst our findings show that educational interventions improved people’s knowledge, attitudes, and practices about CL, we argue that this approach is not sufficient for the prevention and control of this disease. Knowledge does not always translate into action, particularly where other structural barriers exist. Therefore, we recommend the design of more innovative community-based interventions with a broader focus (e.g., stigma, financial barriers, and healthcare access).peer-reviewe

    Ethnography: sense and sensibilities

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    Betwixt and between student and professional identities: UK medical students during COVID times

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    The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Spring 2020 brought about unprecedented disruption to medical education in the United Kingdom (UK). Medical students were encouraged to take up paid roles in the National Health Service to help with workforce shortages. This article explores medical students’ views and experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic vis-à-vis their professional identity formation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 medical students from all five undergraduate years in one UK medical school, between April and June 2020. Three themes were generated: (1) disruption to medical education involving suspension of clinical placements, cancellation of assessments and ceremonial markers; (2) decision-making around joining the clinical workforce, decisions which were influenced by students’ sense of professional obligation, perceived personal gains, and health and safety considerations; (3) experiences of working in clinical settings during the pandemic, including reflections about managing risks and challenges, learning on the job and becoming a better doctor. The findings provide evidence that the UK’s first lockdown destabilised many medical students’ expectations tied to their educational and career trajectory, requiring them to improvise to address gaps in learning and professional development. Taking on a paid healthcare role catapulted them into a liminal period, working in a space ‘betwixt and between’ a medical student and healthcare professional. This swift readjustment of roles and responsibilities accelerated their identity formation as ‘future doctors’. Support for medical students around negotiating such dual role is important in present and future public health crises
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