The Dictatorship of Biomedicine in Equatorial Guinea
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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Dictatorship of Biomedicine in Equatorial Guinea

  • Author(s): Nvé Díaz San Francisco, Carolina
  • et al.

This paper offers a critique to the present-day biomedical health care system in Equatorial Guinea. It argues that biomedical care represents a failure to meet its people’s needs. A preliminary research study and the collection of published work and data drawn from observations during 2017 and 2018 concluded that the current Equatoguinean dictatorship has negatively influenced the development and success of biomedicine as a model of equitable and accessible medicine, and quality health care for all. Despite the investments of global health organizations and the government’s commitments, the rates of maternal, child, and infant mortality remain high while the prevalence of endemic and epidemic diseases, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, continues to rise. In addition, biomedical infrastructures lack committed and caring medical personnel, efficient technological environments, accessible and affordable health care programs, and awareness campaigns that reach out to the population. This paper highlights the reasons why biomedical care in Equatorial Guinea fails to meet its people’s needs. Biomedicine was rooted and developed within a social, political, and economic terrain dominated by colonialism and two consecutive dictatorships. All of the institutional mechanisms that sustain the country are controlled by the head of state. Under the reigns of the head of state, international agencies and non-independent medical institutions lead the practice and development of biomedical care. There is real lack of incentive for Equatoguineans to participate in educational and practical enterprises that may lead to a better understanding of the roles that biomedicine can play in daily life. Health care programs and awareness campaigns fail to reach the population due to a lack of full commitment to involve communities. Biomedical care in Equatorial Guinea constitutes a failure on the part of international agencies and non-independent medical institutions to meet people’s needs, due, first and foremost, to the marginalization of the civil society and other healing systems, as well as to unlawful tendencies to fulfill obligations, limited investment, control over non-independent institutional spheres, disparity in care, and medical and educational maldistribution. This paper intends to foment further investigation into the social, economic, and political contexts of the diseases, endemic illnesses, and epidemics that are currently impacting bodies in Equatorial Guinea. This paper encourages further inquiry into the ways in which learning about perceptions, healthcare-seeking trajectories, and health care systems can support solving health and healthcare problems. The goal is to open debate over possible ways in which medical anthropologists can support rising mechanisms for quality health care, inclusivity, community, and freedom of expression.


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