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Conspiracies, distrust and suspicions of health programmes in Africa

Department of International Development/ Africa Talks panel discussion

This panel discussion will explore the challenges posed by distrust and conspiracy beliefs about public health programmes (schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, polio and HIV/AIDS) in sub-Saharan Africa (Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and South Africa). The successful development of effective technologies to treat HIV and vaccinate against polio, lymphatic filariasis and schistosomiasis have all rightfully been hailed as major steps forward in the struggle to control public health problems in sub-Saharan Africa. Lack of uptake of any of these innovations can, however, derail even the best-designed public health programmes. One of the factors contributing to poor uptake is patients’ distrust of either the health technologies themselves or the people who administer them. This is sometimes articulated in the form of conspiracy theories about the origins of the HIV, or the efficacy of vaccines, and constitutes a significant barrier to vaccine uptake, mass treatment compliance, HIV testing, and condom use in numerous countries. Drawing from in-depth research, the speakers will explore the causes and impacts of conspiracy beliefs and distrust of health interventions, and discuss possible solutions.

Tim Allen is professor in development anthropology at LSE.

Laura Bogart is associate professor at Harvard Medical School.

Heidi Larson is senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Nicoli Nattrass is professor of economics at the University of Cape Town.

Melissa Parker is senior lecturer at Brunel University


Professor Tim Allen | talks | www
Dr Laura Bogart | talks
Dr Heidi Larson | talks
Professor Nicoli Nattrass | talks
Dr Melissa Parker | talks
Linsey McGoey | talks


Date and Time:

13 November 2012 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Hong Kong Theatre
Clement House
London School of Economics and Political Science

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Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
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Available from:

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries email events@lse.ac.uk| or call 020 7955 6043.

Additional Information:

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check the listing for this event on the LSE events website on the day of the event.

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