Popular concerns about blood‐stealing, trade in body parts, surreptitious birth control and the deliberate spreading of disease are common across sub‐Saharan Africa, and there are indications that they are becoming more common in pace with the process of deprivation that economic and political destructuring has, over the last quarter century, set in motion across most of the continent. Such stories are commonly referred to as ‘rumours’– by those who observe and dismiss them, but also by those who, usually with due scepticism, pass them on to others. With its connotation of hearsay and gossip, the term is often used in contrast to ‘truth’, much like the equally problematic distinction of ‘belief’ and ‘knowledge’. This paper aims to move beyond the dismissal of these stories as ‘mere’ rumour, based on erroneous belief or traditional superstition, and to appreciate them as modern commentaries on social relations that involve, and extend far beyond, scientific medical research.
Popular concerns about medical research projects in sub-Saharan Africa – a critical voice in debates about medical research ethics
Categories: Rumours and misinformation Clinical research
Geography: Sub-Saharan Africa
Reference: Geissler PW, Pool R. Editorial: Popular concerns about medical research projects in sub-Saharan Africa – a critical voice in debates about medical research ethics. Trop Med Int Health. 2006;11(7):975–82.