Date: 23 May 2019; Time: 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Location: IAS Common Ground, Ground floor, South Wing, UCL London WC1E 6BT,United Kingdom
Open to all
This event is free
Organizer: Vera Ehrenstein
Talk by Dr Ann Kelly, King’s College London
The presentation considers one of the most powerful epidemiological models of our time: the MacDonald-Ross mathematical model of malaria transmission. The model sought to quantify the pathogenic exchange between mosquito vectors and human populations—a precarious stabilization that, with the advent of DDT, nevertheless promised massive and rapid global health dividends. It was the model’s promise that a significant decline in the adult population of mosquitoes would be sufficient to permanently interrupt transmission that launched the Global Malaria Eradication Program (GMEP) in the mid-1950s. The limitations of that theory and their role in the failures of the GMEP have been canonized as received global health wisdom.
This talk seeks to ethnographically reset the model’s public health unravelling in Africa, through the lens of the development of an entomological method—the Detinova Technique. The technique offered a way to determine the exact physiological age of the female mosquito and in so doing provide critical insight into the ecological dynamics of disease transmission ignored by the MacDonald Ross model. Yet the degree of manual dexterity implied by the technique limited its diffusion and continued obscurity within the malaria field. The dynamic tension evidence between technical precision and programmatic action, scalable assumptions and highly skilled practice, will serve as a prompt to consider some of the methodological parameters of knowability and doability in relation to global health.