Africa at Noon on February 24, 2016

Putting Global Health Norms in Place: Policy Translation and Community Participation in Malawi

Anna West
Department of Anthropology
William Paterson University

Download Poster (pdf)

Time and Location

12:00pm, 206 Ingra­ham Hall, 1155 Obser­va­tory Drive, Madi­son, WI


Motivated by the WHO’s 2008 Ouagadougou Declaration calling for a revitalization of primary health care, Malawi’s Ministry of Health has sought to codify systems and strategies for community participation. This presentation traces the development of national guidelines for participation to understand how a global health norm is imagined and enacted in a specific time and place. It asks: what can policy conversations about community participation tell us about rural citizenship following a period of decentralization, devolution, and a ‘resurgence’ of traditional authorities in Malawi?


Anna West is a medical and political anthropologist whose work focuses on the intersections of public health and governance in southern Africa. Her research in central Malawi examines how encounters between government-supported community health workers and rural families shape popular experiences of and ideas about citizenship and the state two decades after the transition to multi-party democracy. She teaches in the Department of Anthropology at William Paterson University of New Jersey.