Global Governance Centre - Colloquium
Tine Hanrieder

Culture as medicine? Community health workers in global health governance

Tine Hanrieder, WZB Berlin Social Science Center
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Room S3, Maison de la paix, Geneva

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Community Health Workers (CHWs) are paraprofessionals who are well-known as icons of the 1970s Primary Health Care Movement. In recent years, CHW models have again become a development priority. Health policy makers in low- and middle-income countries, but also in industrialized countries, are searching for affordable and scalable CHW models for underserved populations. The talk debates the paradoxes involved in standardizing the CHWs’ community-ness. It focuses on a CHW intervention designed with and for Native American mothers and explores the crucial role of standardized teaching materials, which function as boundary objects between (evidence-based) medicine and community norms. The analysis reveals the paradoxical work done by the boundary object. It not only reinforces cultural stereotypes, but also erases the health workers’ agency, maintaining the illusion that CHW models can be diffused like medicines.



Tine Hanrieder, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.



Delidji Eric Degila, Senior Researcher at the Global Migration Centre and Visiting Faculty in the Department of International Relations and Political Science, the Graduate Institute


This event is part of our our Global Governance Colloquium series.