A Letter to Matt Hancock

URSULA WHITE February 2021 Dear Secretary of State, I am writing to express my concern on discovering that, as of February 2021, Operose Health has acquired AT Medics, a company that currently has contracts to operate 49 GP London surgeries (Lacobucci 2021). Operose Health was created in January 2020 as a subsidiary of Centene, a…

Letter to Jens Spahn

JASMIN SIMAO AJAYI Dear Mr. Spahn,   I am a German citizen from Munich, currently in my final year of studying Anthropology at the University College London (UCL). I am writing to you today to address an issue that has come to my attention recently: the disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on economically disadvantaged and minority ethnic people in…

Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups

PETER BICCAREGUI Calling for a follow up report.  On the 5th April 2020, almost a year ago to the day I’m writing this letter, Belly Mujinga died at only 47 of COVID-19 (Croxford 2020). She was spat on by a man who claimed to have COVID-19. The CPS deemed that there was insufficient evidence to take the case to court, as the man provided a…

It’s Not A Sin: improving HIV/AIDS education in the UK

PIA KEELEY-JOHNSON Dear Gavin Williamson,  I am a queer woman living in London who, like more than 18.9 million people1 who sat down to watch Russell Davies’ hit show It’s A Sin over the last two months, just received the best HIV/AIDS education of my 23 years of life from a TV drama. I was not totally ignorant to…

Eating Disorders, Education, and TikTok

EMILIE THOMPSON 28th February 2021  Dear Mrs Murdoch,  Please let me express my enormous gratitude for the work you and your team continue to conduct in the face of the current pandemic. The NHS are demonstrating unwavering resilience and dedication that is nothing short of inspiring.   As a postgraduate student from UCL, I write in response…

An Epidemic of Loneliness

PEPE WEISCHER Dear Mr Spahn, The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has strained the capacity of the German health system in unprecedented ways, but it seems to me that one crucial aspect of lockdown measures has been profoundly undermined: the loss of social cohesion and mental health support for children and adolescents. By no means do I…

A Letter for Malcolm Reed

TANYA SHARMA Dear Professor Malcolm Reed, (Lead Co-Chair of the Medical Schools Council), I am a medical student in the UK writing to you to discuss the teaching we have had on Social Determinants of Health as part of our medical education and how it may be beneficial for this to be further developed and…

A Letter to Tedros A. Ghebreyesus

AY NASSIMOLDINA Dear Dr Tedros A. Ghebreyesus,   The world is in a vulnerable state right now, and we have trusted you with the World Health Organization to lead us through a global health crisis. However, it is so vital not to relax or neglect health issues that might be veiled with seemingly optimal solutions. I appreciate and…

A Letter to Andrew Selous

SHOLA AJAO Dear Mr Andrew Selous,   It is unfortunate that I find myself writing to you again during these unprecedented times. As you may recall, I wrote July of last year concerning the case of Belly Mujinga, a black woman, a victim of a racially motivated attack, who later died after being spat on whilst working…

Fighting Inequality by Improving NHS Dental and Oral Care

MAXINE PEPPER 22nd March 2021  Dear Sir Stevens,  RE: Fighting inequality by improving NHS dental and oral care  The COVID-19 pandemic brought the discourse on health back to the heart of society. I personally cannot remember ever talking about health and illness prevention more than during the previous 12 months. Given your long list of recent media appearances, I believe you must feel the same. However, my anthropology…

Advocacy Letters: Anthropological Calls for Public and Global Health Change

Series Introduction CARRIE RYAN For the next few weeks, the UCL Medical Anthropology blog will run a special series called ‘Advocacy Letters: Anthropological Calls for Public and Global Health Change.’ This series will showcase nine Advocacy Letters written by UCL anthropology undergraduates and postgraduates. In these letters, students use anthropological insights to advocate for change on a variety of health-related topics, including, for example, dental care, loneliness, and vaccine hesitancy.    These Advocacy Letters…

Covid-19 and Vaccine Inequalities in South Africa: The Second Year

Lerato Coulter, Nunu Dlamini, Jonathan Govender, Sarah-Jayne Du Plessis, Ryan Harries, Khanyisile Maphalala, Dineo Mtetwa, Katso Sebina, Hannah Sunpath, Storm Theunissen and Lenore Manderson University of the Witwatersrand Twelve months after it all began here, sanitisers, physical distancing and masked guards had become just part of the everyday, and we had lost count of deaths…

“Not the Chinese, I’m a Pfizer girl!” The covert politics of pharmaceutical branding in Covid struck Hungary

ARIEL BINETH HUNGARY. The country has one of the highest death rates of COVID-19 globally.1 Hospitals are filled with ICU patients at some places outnumbering staff 5:1.2 Nurses and doctors struggle with physical burnout, infrastructural breakdown, and government crackdown. The shadow of Prime Minister Viktor Orban floats above the pandemic by obstructing statistical transparency and…

Between Jab Lines and Pandemic Orientalism in Urban Sri Lanka

VICHITRA GODAMUNNE & RAPTI SIRIWARDANE-DE ZOYSA  The global COVID-19 vaccination drive has been steeped in geopolitical rivalries, captured not in the least within mainstream Euro-American media narratives. Coverage of the vaccine efforts in the so-called “Global South” has been replete with orientalised visions of these countries where the same international media-predicted pandemic disorder that did…

Vaccinating vaccines: Ethnography and the info-politics of public health

DAN ARTUS What exactly can an ethnography of vaccination hope to achieve? And how could one be undertaken? Although any given individual is likely to have received multiple vaccines throughout their lifetime, the act of administering one is typically extremely quick via injection, oral drops or even a nasal spray. Moreover, it occurs in specific…

The (Anthropological) Vaccine Rush

BEN KASSTAN It would be an understatement to say I rushed to the Jerusalem Arena stadium to receive the COVID-19 vaccination last week. Rolling down my sleeve after the jab, I felt as if I’d been marked with privilege while very conscious of the entrenched global public health inequalities that prevent the same timely access…

Changing perspectives, Infrastructuring care

MICHELA COZZA On 21 March 2020, during the first COVID-19 pandemic peak in Italy, a group of doctors working at the Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, published an article titled “At the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic and humanitarian crises in Italy: Changing perspectives on preparation and mitigation” (Nacoti et al., 2020). This title…