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2.
Vaccine X ; 10: 100151, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1757619

ABSTRACT

As Schmid-Küpke and colleagues discuss the reasons behind cancelling the routine vaccination in Germany, the pandemic has affected all six World Health Organization Regions as around 56 countries suspended their mass vaccination campaigns during the first six months of the pandemic. The same happened in Pakistan. Consequently, there are great and valid concerns that there will be outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease (VPDs) in the country. To effectively deal with them and increase vaccine uptake, it is indispensable for the Pakistani government to consider all factors, whhile speccially engaging anthropologists for creating a well-prepared vaccination plan.

3.
Front Public Health ; 9: 647543, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581138

ABSTRACT

This study aimed to describe the dealings of 20 biomedical doctors with coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Focusing on physicians from three different hospitals, we describe their challenges, emotions, and views concerning the pandemic. Many regarded the virus from a biomedical standpoint. Yet some also perceived it as a "tool of a proxy war" and a "plot," without giving agency to anyone for that "plot." Furthermore, these care providers faced a great fear of infection and an even greater fear of transmitting the virus to their families and friends. A few also feared stigmatization as viral carriers. Whether they experienced fear or not, all of our physician interlocutors emphasized their sense of responsibility to "serve humanity," yet some also expressed a strong belief in the inevitability of the will of Allah. Some were satisfied with the role of the government in containing the virus, while others expressed concerns and felt that the government should be doing much more. All expressed confidence in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), viewing it as an effective buffer against viral contagion. We conclude with a call for further research especially ethnographic studies on dealings of physicians with COVID-19 across Pakistan as frontline care providers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Physicians , Fear , Health Personnel , Humans , Pakistan/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Front Glob Womens Health ; 1: 591809, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1533646

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is still unfolding. Its several implications are visible, yet more of them we have to observe and witness in future. Dealing with these impacts, this rapid-response article aims to situate the COVID-19 pandemic within Pakistan's overall sociocultural and politico-economic context; next to investigate the impacts of COVID-19 particularly the psychological ones on pregnant women in Pakistan via five case. One case history of Haleema (pseudonym) revealed how the pandemic exerted a substantial amount of mental pressure due to "arranging someone to accompany her to the hospital, finding a blood donor for her, and insecurity of convenience to hospital." In this article, we show that Pakistan's geographical division into urban with an appropriate healthcare system, infrastructure and economic status, and more impoverished rural areas may show different impacts on people in general and the pregnant women in particular. This difference of facilities may contribute to disease transmission in the more deprived areas, that also due to cultural norms and mores such as shaking hands, cheek-kissing, and hugging that spread the virus are being overturned and that pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to psychological effects of the pandemic.

5.
Prim Health Care Res Dev ; 22: e71, 2021 11 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526036

ABSTRACT

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic continues during 2021. Some countries are revisiting their containment measures to be eased or re-imposed after massive testing programs. Yet is testing itself a solution? Testing may be an important containment step, yet in low-income countries (LICs), it may be substantially challenging to carry out. This is because the situation in LICs is complexified by inadequate and corrupt economic, political, and healthcare systems in which testing is often beyond reach. Focusing on Pakistan and Papua New Guinea (PNG), we contend that the sparse number of recorded COVID-19 infections may demonstrate that both countries lack the required resources to conduct effective testing and deal with the pandemic. To appropriately tackle the pandemic, such countries need focus on implementing the measures they can and on public education about how viruses work and why it is so important to seek to contain their spread. Furthermore, we invite thorough studies to examine and analyze massive testing from various perspectives.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Pakistan , Pandemics , Papua New Guinea , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 749023, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438423

ABSTRACT

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.3389/fmed.2021.647294.].

7.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 647294, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1337645

ABSTRACT

By the mid of June 2021, after an almost 1.5-year-long COVID-19 pandemic that has significantly affected the world in multiple ways, various vaccines against COVID-19 have arrived and started worldwide. Yet, economic, (geo)political, and socio-cultural factors may influence its uptake at individual and country levels. Several issues will (and already have been reported in media) revolve around this vaccination regarding its accessibility, affordability, and acceptability at an individual level and a country level. Given that in this commentary, we provoke a discussion: Who-a country as well as the individuals-would have access to it, and who would economically afford it, and who would accept it? Centering these intriguing questions, we revisit the body of literature that explicates vaccine hesitancy, refusal, and resistance, and we also draw on the current literature and media reports about vaccination against COVID-19. We suggest that these backdrops need essential attention so that everyone can afford, accept, and have access to it. Otherwise, the current risk in the face of a year-old pandemic will continue.

8.
Disaster Med Public Health Prep ; : 1-6, 2021 Jul 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305346

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has received various distinct perspectives and responses at the local as well as global levels. The current study pays attention to local perspectives, which have appeared in the Sindh Province of Pakistan. METHODS: Given the constraints of the pandemic, and using convenience sampling, we conducted 10 online group discussions, 7 one-on-one interviews, and 30 cellphone discussions from a small town of Sindh Province. We made every effort to make our sampling inclusive in terms of decisive sociocultural factors: gender, religion, level of formal education, and occupation/job. We obtained data from women, men, Muslims and non-Muslims, the formally educated and noneducated, government employees, and daily wage laborers. Moreover, to perform content analysis, we used social media such as WhatsApp and Facebook. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS: We have found that some people consider COVID-19 a "political" game, "supernatural test" or "Western plot". The given perceptions then guide further actions: either ignore or adopt the preventive measures or take supernatural preventive measures. Considering it as a test of God, Muslims perform prayers, while the Bagrri community who practice Hinduism are taking cow urine to deal with the virus. This study brings these perspectives to the center stage; yet, the results cannot be generalized across the country, or within the province. Moreover, the study situates these perspectives within the global and socio-cultural, economic, and political contexts and invites more in-depth studies to inquire why such perspectives emerge. CONCLUSIONS: We discuss different narratives concerning COVID-19 in a small town of Sindh Province. We maintain that documenting these various perspectives and analyzing their impacts on the preparedness programs is essential, yet understanding the causes behind the stated standpoints is equally essential, if not more so.

9.
Front Sociol ; 6: 622223, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1241225

ABSTRACT

Pregnancy and birth are biological phenomena that carry heavy cultural overlays, and pregnant and birthing women need care and attention during both ordinary and extraordinary times. Most Pakistani pregnant women now go to doctors and hospitals for their perinatal care. Yet traditional community midwives, called DaI in the singular and Dayun in the plural, still attend 24% of all Pakistani births, primarily in rural areas. In this article, via data collected from 16 interviews-5 with Dayun and 11 with mothers, we explore a maternity care system in tension between the past and the present, the DaI and the doctor. We ask, what does the maternity care provided by the Dayun look like during times of normalcy, and how does it differ during COVID-19? We look at the roles the DaI has traditionally performed and how these roles have been changing, both in ordinary and in Covidian circumstances. Presenting the words of the Dayun we interviewed, all from Pakistan's Sindh Province, we demonstrate their practices and show that these have not changed during this present pandemic, as these Dayun, like many others in Sindh Province, do not believe that COVID-19 is real-or are at least suspect that it is not. To contextualize the Dayun, we also briefly present local mother's perceptions of the Dayun in their regions, which vary between extremely positive and extremely negative. Employing the theoretical frameworks of "authoritative knowledge" and of critical medical anthropology, we highlight the dominance of "modern" biomedicine over "traditional" healthcare systems and its effects on the Dayun and their roles within their communities. Positioning this article within Pakistan's national profile, we propose formally training and institutionalizing the Dayun in order to alleviate the overwhelming burdens that pandemics-present and future-place on this country's fragile maternity care system, to give mothers more-and more viable-options at all times, and to counterbalance the rising tide of biomedical hegemony over pregnancy and birth.

10.
Front Sociol ; 6: 648149, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1231431

ABSTRACT

Infecting millions of people, causing around two million deaths, and affecting billions of people worldwide during January 2021, the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is not merely one pandemic but many. These many pandemics, which I identify herein, have revealed the overt and subtle entanglements among religion, science, and politics around COVID-19. Building on my current ethnographic research on COVID-19 using purposive sampling and interview guide in Pakistan, and borrowing from various anthropological concepts such as "social drama," proposed by Victor Turner, and ritual, I have developed a concept that I call rituals of containment. With this concept, I extend my previous argument regarding "symbolic ownership" to show a visible "body politics" by demonstrating how religion, science, and politics around COVID-19 are entangled at individual and government levels. This has become observable through the rituals of the Pakistani government of containment to deal with COVID-19. Such entanglements are visible in the case of strategies to tackle infected "viral bodies," as the government has enacted its authority: (1) to bury what I am terming the dead viral body without its beloved ones present; (2) to return or not to return this body to family members in a coffin; (3) or to provide the grieving family with a symbolic empty coffin. These Covidian politics have led to the question: Who in actuality owns the body? In conclusion, I argue that the problem lies in the discriminatory and contradictory rituals of containment of the government, not in using scientific evidence and guidelines.

11.
Adv Exp Med Biol ; 1318: 673-686, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1222740

ABSTRACT

Stories and narratives are part of our human sociocultural history, which are always preserved in what I call "societal memory." We construct stories to weave meanings that help us make sense of our lifeworlds. Like stories, rumors and conspiracy theories can offer deep meanings when analyzed in specific contexts. Such narratives become most prominent in times of looming uncertainties, anxieties, and fears. Thus, the challenging coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has become surrounded by plentiful rumors and conspiracy theories. These narratives reveal geopolitics when they code the pandemic as "bioengineered." They also demonstrate local concerns, as in Pakistan, people started drinking "miraculous" tea as a form of prevention, shaving their heads, and/or praying to God to undo his "punishment." Some conceptualized the pandemic as an invented "plot." These narratives seem to empower individuals to make sense of this pandemic and to deal with its multidimensional effects: they allow them to feel confident enough to go outside and earn their livelihood. In this chapter, the author builds on his long-term ethnographic fieldwork on infectious diseases, recent telephone interviews, and content analysis of the media to discuss narratives revolving around COVID-19 in Pakistan. The author argues that these rumors and conspiracy theories are social phenomena pregnant with multiple meanings that deserve to be thoroughly explored, especially by anthropologists. A dearth of understanding about COVID-19 and narratives surrounding it would substantially impede the strategies to deal with this ongoing pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Personnel , Humans , Pakistan , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
12.
Front Sociol ; 6: 608979, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1221998

ABSTRACT

Vaccination encounters multiple context-specific challenges-socio-cultural, economic, and political-that substantially affect its uptake. Likewise, natural disasters and health emergencies considerably impact immunization endeavors, such as the coronaviurs 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that has overwhelmed the entire world. It was already anticipated that the pandemic would severely affect Pakistan's vaccination programs due to interruptions in routine vaccination and the overstretching of healthcare systems. Consequently, there are anticipations of outbreaks of other vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). Yet empirical evidence is missing. Drawing on qualitative research, this article focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on routine vaccination programs in Pakistan. Our data come from a small village located in Pakistan's Sindh province where local people refused the routine polio vaccine that was stopped for a while, then resumed in July 2020. They suspected both the vaccine and COVID-19 to be a "Western plot." We argue that these perceptions and practices can be seen against the backdrop of economic, socio-cultural, and (geo)political forces, which are encoded in "societal memory." Not only is there a need to reverse the significant impacts of COVID-19 on routine vaccination by arranging supplementary immunization activities (SIAs), but also the government must deal with other pressing issues that affect the vaccination programs in the country.

13.
Ann Med ; 53(1): 581-586, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1171161

ABSTRACT

Although coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a pandemic, it has several specificities influencing its outcomes due to the entwinement of several factors, which anthropologists have called "syndemics". Drawing upon Singer and Clair's syndemics model, I focus on synergistic interaction among chronic kidney disease (CKD), diabetes, and COVID-19 in Pakistan. I argue that over 36 million people in Pakistan are standing at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, developing severe complications, and losing their lives. These two diseases, but several other socio-cultural, economic, and political factors contributing to structured vulnerabilities, would function as confounders. To deal with the critical effects of these syndemics the government needs appropriate policies and their implementation during the pandemic and post-pandemic. To eliminate or at least minimize various vulnerabilities, Pakistan needs drastic changes, especially to overcome (formal) illiteracy, unemployment, poverty, gender difference, and rural and urban difference.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Diabetes Mellitus/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Renal Insufficiency, Chronic/epidemiology , Syndemic , COVID-19/prevention & control , Climate Change/economics , Climate Change/statistics & numerical data , Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic , Developing Countries/economics , Developing Countries/statistics & numerical data , Diabetes Mellitus/economics , Diabetes Mellitus/prevention & control , Food Supply/economics , Food Supply/statistics & numerical data , Health Literacy/economics , Health Literacy/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Pakistan/epidemiology , Pandemics/economics , Politics , Poverty/economics , Poverty/statistics & numerical data , Renal Insufficiency, Chronic/economics , Renal Insufficiency, Chronic/prevention & control , Unemployment/statistics & numerical data
14.
Front Sociol ; 5: 619913, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1133997

ABSTRACT

Death is far from being simply a physiologic event; it is a complex phenomenon with sociocultural and politicoeconomic aspects. During extraordinary times such as the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, death becomes a contested site. I argue that the Pakistani government's dealings with the bodies of people who die from COVID-19 have shifted the meaning of a normal dead body to a viral body that poses particular challenges to cultures and people, including the government. This article is both autoethnographic and ethnographic. It concurrently draws on my observations and participation in death rituals in a Pakistani village in Sindh province as a member of that society, and on a recent experience that I faced after the death of a gentle lady of my acquaintance due to COVID-19. I also build on my previous long-term ethnographic research in Pakistan and my ongoing research on COVID-19 in that country. I discuss the death rituals and ceremonies performed during "ordinary" situations as background information; and the changes in these rituals that have resulted from the coronavirus pandemic. My data demonstrate significant differences between usual and customary death rituals and those performed during Covidian times by government mandate, which have severely and negatively affected people's mental health. I show the government's "symbolic ownership" of the viral body, in that the government can control how people deal with their viral dead.

15.
Hum Vaccin Immunother ; 16(11): 2594-2600, 2020 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-786982

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed multiple substantial challenges, affecting not only public health but also economic systems, socio-cultural patterns, and political institutions. Studies have focused on the relationships between complex emergencies and natural disasters with outbreaks of infectious diseases. However, there is a dearth of relevant literature on the impact of a global pandemic on vaccination programs - an important topic because delays or stops in such programs are likely to result in outbreaks and epidemics of other infectious diseases. Thus, this article discusses the negative and positive impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic may exert on vaccination for vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). Negative impacts include the increased risk of VPD outbreaks in low-resource countries where vaccination programs must be temporarily halted to prevent the spread of infection. Positive effects include the strong possibility that the universally-recognized need for a coronavirus vaccine may increase people's appreciation for vaccines in general, resulting in improved vaccination uptake once the pandemic passes. Concerned stakeholders, such as governments and the World Health Organization (WHO), should seize this moment to effectively build on these positive impacts by planning renewed and revitalized post-COVID vaccination programs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunization Programs/statistics & numerical data , Vaccine-Preventable Diseases/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans , Primary Prevention , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
16.
Disaster medicine and public health preparedness ; : 1-15, 2020.
Article | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-752636

ABSTRACT

Being a part of our sociocultural history, stories and narratives help us make sense of our lifeworlds. As stories, rumors, and conspiracy theories offer deep meanings when analyzed in specific contexts, which prominently appear in the face of looming uncertainties, anxieties, and fears. Similarly, many narratives have surrounded the COVID-19 pandemic at the global and local levels as people try to make sense of this invisibly spreading virus and its multidimensional effects. Drawing on the media reports, I show and analyze global-level narratives that reveal geopolitics into play. To present the local level narratives in Pakistan, I build on my long-term ethnographic fieldwork, recent telephone interviews, and content analysis to discuss why these tales emerge and spread. As the pandemic unfolded, local people started drinking "miraculous" tea as a form of prevention, shaving their heads, and/or praying to God to undo His "punishment" and conceptualizing the pandemic as an invented "plot." With my analyses, I compare the "viral rumors" with the virus and argue that these narratives are social phenomena carrying multiple meanings that need thorough attention of social scientists-e.g., an anthropologist-as we need an expert to study a virus.

17.
Disaster Med Public Health Prep ; : 1-11, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-752632

ABSTRACT

Since the coronavirus disease 2019, called COVID-19, has overwhelmed the high-income countries with ample resources and established health-care system, we argue that there are plausible concerns why it may devastate the low-income countries like Pakistan. Focusing on Pakistan, we highlight the underlying reasons, eg, demographic features, ineffective health-care system, economic and political inequalities, corruption, and socio-cultural characteristics, that create fertile grounds for COVID-19 to overwhelm low-income countries. This study presents Pakistan's brief profile to demonstrate these underlying structures that may make low-income countries like Pakistan more vulnerable in the face of an unceasing COVID-19 pandemic. The study concludes that the country may make appropriate and possibly effective short-term preparedness measures to halt or slow the transmission of the virus, and deal with its current implications as well as it may pay significant attention to long-term measures to deal effectively with COVID-19's longer-term effects. These measures will help them, including Pakistan, to deal appropriately with a similar future critical event.

18.
Disaster Med Public Health Prep ; 14(5): e16-e18, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-197903

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has already exerted an enormous impact on the entire world. Everything is overwhelmed in the face of a rapid escalation of cases. The countries that have already reported the peak of transmission are easing their preventive measures yet fearing a second wave of infection. If the virus causes that next wave, are we sufficiently prepared to deal with it? I argue that the stakeholders concerned should simultaneously handle the ongoing pandemic while making effective preparations for its second wave. To relax the preventive measures, countries must thoroughly revisit their situations based on scientific evidence.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Disaster Planning/standards , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disaster Planning/methods , Disaster Planning/trends , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Quarantine/standards , Quarantine/trends
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