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. Sep-Oct 2016;35(5):419-32.
doi: 10.1080/01459740.2016.1167055. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

Ambiguous Capture: Collaborative Capitalism and the Meningitis Vaccine Project

Free PMC article

Ambiguous Capture: Collaborative Capitalism and the Meningitis Vaccine Project

Janice Graham. Med Anthropol. .
Free PMC article


The primary health care approach advanced at Alma Ata to address social determinants of health was replaced by selective health care a year later at Bellagio. Subsequently, immunization was endorsed as a cost-effective technical intervention to combat targeted infectious diseases. Multilateral efforts to collaborate on immunization as a universal public health good ambiguously capture the interests of the world's governments as well as private, public, and not-for-profit institutions. Global assemblages of scientists, governments, industry and nongovernmental organizations now work in public-private partnerships to develop and make essential vaccines accessible, with vaccines marketed as single fix solutions for global health. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork in France and Burkina Faso that followed the development, regulation, and implementation of the group A meningococcal conjugate vaccine for sub-Saharan Africa, in this article I describe events during and after the development of MenAfriVac. A technological success narrative steeped in collaborative capitalist rhetoric disguises neglected health care systems.

Keywords: Burkina Faso; public-private partnership; regulatory capture; technology transfer; vaccine development.

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