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Outbreaks of Infectious Diseases: Causes, Consequences and Questions
Outbreaks of infectious diseases always pose questions regarding the making of health-related programmes: policies and implementations. Despite the efforts and ‘claims’ made by the responsible stakeholders such as the health officials and policy makers, outbreaks occur. The questions can be what goes wrong and where it goes wrong? Or what is missing? Whatever goes wrong, people suffer as in the case of measles, it is a child(ren) who suffers. They are being negotiated. There are certain ‘visible and invisible’ gaps in the making of vaccination programmes – the programmes that are designed to deal with the infectious diseases for avoiding any outbreaks and eliminating the infections completely for reducing the burden of diseases as well as suffering. These gaps call for an action-research conducted by the social scientists like anthropologists who are engaged in the arenas of health to bring the gaps on the surface or to make them ‘visible’. Or it can be said that occurrences of outbreaks ask for the solidarities to protect people from any suffering. The paper draws on my PhD fieldwork on negotiation of measles in Pakistan. Geographically, it is different, but thematically it is directly related to the theme. Thus, it may bring different perspectives on outbreaks and calls for action.