Much of the focus of health advocacy within post-apartheid South Africa has been on public access to medicines. Comparably little attention has been trained on their discard and disposal. This study, about the social life of medical waste, explores what happens to medical products after they have been prescribed and purchased. Based on three years of collecting pharmaceutical waste, within public sites in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, I examine what rubbish reveals about medicines-taking in post-Apartheid South Africa. I focus on both ‘over-the-counter’ and ‘prescribed’ medicines, investigating their circulation within thriving economies of formal, adaptive and illicit use. This research combines a focus on primary materials with the secondary literatures from the medical and pharmaceutical humanities, public health, and the emerging field of ‘discard studies’.
You are invited to the next CSSR Seminar with Fabio Andrés Díaz
For more than 50 years, Colombia has suffered from internal conflicts between the government and different armed groups (guerillas, paramilitary forces, drug lords, private armies). Since last year, after the signing of the peace agreements between the main guerilla group (FARC) and the government, prospects for reform have improved. A key component that must be addressed for the success of this negotiation and the consolidation of peace is the development of public policies regarding the reparation of the victims of this conflict.
This paper focuses on evaluating possible tools that can be used to support the challenges related to the planning and assessment of the required resources for the implementation of a comprehensive policy towards the displaced population and the reparation policies associated with this. I argue that the use of simulation tools and methodologies such as system dynamics can be an effective approach to learn about the effectiveness of those policies.
Any policy aiming to provide compensation or other reparations to victims of forced displacement needs to be carefully crafted, as elements such as the information delays, feedback cycles, and other characteristics related with this situation offer challenges. I build a preliminary simulation model exemplifying the implementation of a policy aiming to reparate victims of forced displacement in Colombia, comparing the prescribed terms defined by law with the real lapses that the process is facing practice. I argue that assessing the requirements and the limitations of the restitution of land in Colombia in a simulation environment will be a useful tool to inform policies and practice in this context. This further provides a useful basis for reflection on the South African case.
Fabio Andrés Díaz is a Colombian political scientist. He is a Research Associate at the Department of Political and International studies at Rhodes University in South Africa and a Researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands. Fabio works at the intersection between theory and practice, and his research interests are related to state strength, civil war, conflict and protests in the midst of globalization. In addition to his academic publications, his analysis has been published by Al Jazeera, Time, The Conversation, among others. His current research focuses on social movements, protests and processes of contestation in both Colombia and South Africa during the period of 1948-2016.