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Your Pocket is What Cures You The Politics of Health in Senegal by Ellen E. Foley

Your Pocket is What Cures You The Politics of Health in Senegal

Part of the Studies in Medical Anthropology Series


Your Pocket is What Cures You The Politics of Health in Senegal by Ellen E. Foley

In the wake of structural adjustment programs in the 1980s and health reforms in the 1990s, the majority of sub-Saharan African governments spend less than ten dollars per capita on health annually, and many Africans have limited access to basic medical care. Using a community-level approach, anthropologist Ellen E. Foley analyzes the implementation of global health policies and how they become intertwined with existing social and political inequalities in Senegal. Your Pocket Is What Cures You examines qualitative shifts in health and healing spurred by these reforms, and analyzes the dilemmas they create for health professionals and patients alike. It also explores how cultural frameworks, particularly those stemming from Islam and Wolof ethnomedicine, are central to understanding how people manage vulnerability to ill health. While offering a critique of neoliberal health policies, Your Pocket Is What Cures You remains grounded in ethnography to highlight the struggles of men and women who are precariously balanced on twin precipices of crumbling health systems and economic decline. Their stories demonstrate what happens when market-based health reforms collide with material, political, and social realities in African societies.


Foley's book offers a compelling and compassionate presentation of the local consequences of health reform as they have unfolded in Senegal. This thoroughly accessible work will be a welcome addition to the literature in global health and medical anthropology. - Craig R. Janes, director of Global Health Programs, Simon Fraser University, Canada

About the Author

ELLEN E. FOLEY is an assistant professor of international development and social change at Clark University.

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Book Info

Publication date

15th December 2009


Ellen E. Foley

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Rutgers University Press


216 pages


Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography
Health systems & services
Medical anthropology



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