Activities – University of Copenhagen

MEINWE > Activities

Seminars are organized in cooperation with Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies, MeST 

June 3, 2019, at 15:00-16:30, in room 5.0.22 at CSS, Øster Farimagsgade 5A, building 5: Global Health Futures? Reckoning with an Outbreak Bond

Professor Susan Erikson, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC Canada

Since 2010, there has been a discernable expansion of global health financing forms using private equity, bonds, and ‘facilities’ to finance international development and humanitarian endeavors. I present the logics of the Pandemic Emergency Facility (PEF), a World Bank instrument that lashes together a bond and cash to ‘lay-in-wait’ for an infectious disease outbreak. I explain how the bond is emblematic of financial instruments that have the potential to fund global health aid and response while offering investors a chance to make money. Reckoning with the outbreak bond means that we take account of not only the financial instrument itself (what does the bond organize and by what logic?), but also the relationships it cultivates (what does the bond bind together?) and reproduces (what does it aim to multiply, what does it aim to forsake?). I use reckoning as an analytic concept that can help us think about measures and futures of global health in both economic and ethical registers. Reckoning is a way to pause to take account of where we are, where we are going, and if this is the future we want. Is it necessary to translate the moral obligation to help those who suffer into financial instruments that make people money, a trend that we are clearly in the initial stages of? Are there conditions when the suffering of others as the source of financial speculation becomes desirable?

Dr. Erikson is the founding director of the Global Health Affairs Program at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She joined the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University in 2007. She has won numerous research and teaching awards, including the 2013 Virchow Prize for her publication, "Global Health Business: The Production and Performativity of Statistics in Germany and Sierra Leone". Global Health Data and Global Health Financialization are Dr. Erikson's two current research foci. Since 2013, Dr. Erikson has conducted fieldwork research in Sierra Leone on the production, use, and global circulation of health data. She was in Freetown in February 2014 studying data use when news broke of Ebola infections in neighboring Guinea. Findings from that research led to a project on the financialization of global health humanitarian response, specifically outbreak bonds.

Everybody is welcome!