Jana Gerold: From Cure to Care Care practices among elderly people in urban Tanzania
PhD-project in Social Anthropology, University of Basel (2009-2011)
The research project aims at contributing to the old-age research in developing countries and at overcoming an important gap by focusing on the issues of elder care, care support schemes and the burden of elder care. In developing countries such as Tanzania the vulnerability of elderly is closely linked to providing or not care support. The background of the study is given by the concept of health transition occurring in developing countries, i.e. demographic and epidemiological changes, rapid urbanization and migration. This transition is paralleled by a growing “triangle of uncertainty” for elderly: uncertain family and community support, minimal state provision, the risk of contracting at the same time an infectious and chronic disease. Thus, adequate care for vulnerable elderly is a major challenge for African societies. The research focuses on the idea of “care”, rather than “cure” and centers on households, which are essential in providing care. Moreover, elder people are conceived as active social actors with resources and capacities, which they can mobilize in order to cope with their vulnerability and to enhance their resilience. The study takes into account urban-rural dynamics by including two PhD students, one based in the rural area of Rufiji District and the other in urban Dar es Salaam.