Saturday, 18 August 2018

New book: 'Ungovernable Life Mandatory Medicine and Statecraft in Iraq' by Omar Dewachi

Dewachi, O. (2017) Ungovernable Life Mandatory Medicine and Statecraft in Iraq, Stanford University Press.


Iraq's healthcare has been on the edge of collapse since the 1990s. Once the leading hub of scientific and medical training in the Middle East, Iraq's political and medical infrastructure has been undermined by decades of U.S.-led sanctions and invasions. Since the British Mandate, Iraqi governments had invested in cultivating Iraq's medical doctors as agents of statecraft and fostered connections to scientists abroad. In recent years, this has been reversed as thousands of Iraqi doctors have left the country in search of security and careers abroad. Ungovernable Life presents the untold story of the rise and fall of Iraqi "mandatory medicine"—and of the destruction of Iraq itself.

Trained as a doctor in Baghdad, Omar Dewachi writes a medical history of Iraq, offering readers a compelling exploration of state-making and dissolution in the Middle East. His work illustrates how imperial modes of governance, from the British Mandate to the U.S. interventions, have been contested, maintained, and unraveled through medicine and healthcare. In tracing the role of doctors as agents of state-making, he challenges common accounts of Iraq's alleged political unruliness and ungovernability, bringing forth a deeper understanding of how medicine and power shape life and how decades of war and sanctions dismember projects of state-making.

About the author
Omar Dewachi is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Social Medicine, and Global Health and Co-Director of the Conflict Medicine Program at the American University of Beirut.

New chapter: 'Transnational Health and Long-Term Care Practices’ in the Routledge Handbook of Health Geography (2018)

Ormond, M. and Toyota, M. (2018) ‘Rethinking care through transnational health and long-term care practices’, in V. Crooks, G. Andrews and J. Pearce (eds), Routledge Handbook of Health Geography, Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 237-243. 

Access to and quality of health and social care resources within and between countries is increasingly uneven. Market, state, civic, familial and individual responses to this unevenness produce diverse transnational care practices that, in turn, generate a variety of transnational care spaces around the world and at different scales. This chapter focuses on the ways in which these different social actors are imbricated in a range of transnational care practices and the spaces in which these practices unfold. Drawing on examples from South and Southeast Asia, it first discusses two transnational care practices produced by (perceived) medical care deficits: 1) temporary and circular movements abroad for the satisfaction of one’s specific medical needs and wants (popularly dubbed ‘medical tourism’) and 2) short-/long-term and circular migratory trajectories of skilled health workers seeking to meet the demands of and benefit from health systems abroad. Such practices have generated diverse transnational care spaces, from ‘world-class’ hospitals to dedicated airport immigration lanes to special nursing schools training nurses for ‘export’. The chapter then draws on examples from East Asia and Western Europe to describe two transnational care practices produced by (perceived) long-term care deficits: 1) migratory trajectories for the improved fulfilment of one’s long-term care needs and 2) migratory trajectories of formal and informal care-givers seeking to meet the long-term needs of societies with rapidly ageing populations. A variety of transnational care spaces have also emerged around these practices, including assisted living facilities and nursing homes for foreigners and live-in care arrangements enabling dependent seniors to age in place. In examining these practices and their resultant spaces, this chapter seeks to shed light on the existing and emergent range of scales and complex networks of care.

Monday, 2 July 2018

New podcast with Hiraeth Magazine: Hiraeth Ep. 27- Heritage From Below - Meghann Ormond

Stories about Meghann Ormond's life and work have been featured in a Hiraeth Project ( podcast episode about her personal migratory and citizenship experiences, the extraordinary transcontinental journey her mother undertook to discover her biological roots, and the research she has done for more than a decade on issues related to transnational mobility like healthcare-motivated travel (aka 'medical tourism') and migrant heritage practices. 

Check out the podcast here: 

A year ago, Hiraeth was invited to participate in a session on “Whose Heritages Matter” during a conference at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Meghann Ormond, Associate Professor in Cultural Geography at Wageningen, speaks about her own heritage, from her two passport countries, the U.S. and Portugal, as well as the Netherlands, where she has made her home for the past eight years, and other countries that have touched her life.

Meghann’s own identity has been shaped by both her own travels around the world and her multifaceted family history, including her mother’s search for her birth parents on two continents. Through this experience, she realised:

“We are all inheritors of extraordinarily transnational stories.”

Heritage from Below is an acknowledgement that the everyday stories and lives of ordinary people should be included as a part of history. Meghann started the Heritage from Below Educational and Research Collective (HERC) to bring together cultural heritage and history scholars, practitioners and educators to help children of all backgrounds feel that their history and culture are important and recognised as part of a larger whole.

This episode also features music by Ketsa (copyright) under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License without endorsement.

New special issue in Global Public Health: 'Im/Mobilities and Dis/Connectivities in Medical Globalization: How Global is Global Health?'

In December 2017, a special issue on transnational health was published in the journal Global Public Health: Im/Mobilities and Dis/Connectivities in Medical Globalization: How Global is Global Health?


  • Im/mobilities and dis/connectivities in medical globalisation: How global is Global Health?
    • Hansjörg Dilger & Dominik Mattes
  • Made in Denmark: Scientific mobilities and the place of pedagogy in global health
    • Branwyn Poleykett
  • (Dis)connectivities in wartime: The therapeutic geographies of Iraqi healthcare–seeking in Lebanon
    • Omar Dewachi, Anthony Rizk & Neil V. Singh
  • State-of-the-art or the art of medicine? Transnational mobility and perceptions of multiple biomedicines among Nigerian physicians in the U.S.
    • Judith Schühle
  • International clinical volunteering in Tanzania: A postcolonial analysis of a Global Health business
    • Noelle Sullivan
  • Stock-outs! Improvisations and processes of infrastructuring in Uganda’s HIV/Aids and malaria programmes
    • René Umlauf & Sung-Joon Park
  • From coastal to global: The transnational flow of Ayurveda and its relevance for Indo-African linkages
    • Caroline Meier zu Biesen
  • Negotiating horizontality in medical South–South cooperation: The Cuban mission in Rio de Janeiro’s urban peripheries
    • Maria Lidola & Fabiano Tonaco Borges
  • ‘Exotic no more’: Tuberculosis, public debt and global health in Berlin
    • Janina Kehr

New book: The Private Healthcare Sector in Johor: Trends and Prospects

The Private Healthcare Sector in Johor: Trends and Prospects

By Meghann Ormond and Lim Chee Han[1]

Ormond, M. and Lim, C.H. (2018) The private healthcare sector in Johor: Trends and prospects, Singapore: ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute. ISBN 978-981-4818-71-1 (soft cover)/ISBN 978-981-4818-72-8 (ebook, PDF) -- Available for purchase at: 

Executive Summary

·         The future of the private healthcare in Johor and in the Iskandar Malaysia (IM) special economic zone in particular is intimately tied to larger property developments and trends in the region, both because private healthcare developers are increasingly the same as property developers and because IM’s future population growth relies heavily on corporate settlement in IM and the jobs that such settlement generates. Volatility in corporate investment and settlement in IM may have significant consequences for the sector’s development.
·         The Federal and Johor State Governments intend to turn IM into a world-class private healthcare destination for local residents and foreign visitors alike. A range of strategies and policies have been launched to develop IM’s medical care, aged care, and lifestyle and wellbeing sectors.
·         It is essential to track the impact of federal and regional fiscal incentives for private healthcare development and monitor actual demand for private-sector capacity in order to assess the value and utility of such incentives, especially given the potential for such incentives policies to promote the generation of excessive private-sector hospital and clinical capacity if left unchecked.
·         Private healthcare providers in the region depend mostly on local residents as their consumer base because Johor and IM are not (yet) significant medical tourism destinations. Given the current rate of expansion of existing hospitals and construction of new ones in Johor and specifically in IM, local demand must be secured via measures that increase the Johor household income base, foster interstate migration, attract higher-income talent in larger numbers to live in the region, and improve quality of life in the region.
·         To strengthen medical tourism, private players – both large and small – require greater coordination and cooperation at the regional level in promoting medical tourism and in setting up centres of excellence and medical tourist-friendly services that cater to the actual needs of international patients.

[1] Meghann Ormond is Associate Professor in Cultural Geography at Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Lim Chee Han is Senior Analyst at Penang Institute, Malaysia.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

'History in the Making', a kitchen table conversation at the 2018 Families in Global Transition (FIGT) Annual Conference in The Hague, 10 March 2018


2018 Families in Global Transition (FIGT) Annual Conference, The Hague, 8-10 March 2018 (

Session Title:

History in the Making

Session Time:

Saturday, 10 March 2018 from 13:45-14:30 --

Session Synopsis:

We all have personal stories of our lives abroad, and most of us end up at least informally documenting those stories in some way, whether in journals, blogs, letters, emails, or even on Facebook or Twitter. But did you know that academic researchers in a variety of fields have an interest in our international lives?

In this session, the Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) presents a conversation with the EAC’s Director, a researcher, and an expat blogger working on an exciting new project. They talk about why your story is important, what researchers are looking for, different ways you can make your story available for research, and how that research can improve all our lives.Like FIGT, the Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) began in the 1990’s as a group of women sitting around a table, talking about how their own stories and the stories of people like them needed to be shared, honoured, and brought together. Their quest to document expat life eventually grew into a whole archive dedicated to expat life stories. The EAC provides valuable primary source material to academic researchers and continues to expand its collection to encompass more diverse experiences and new types of personal documents like blogs and social media.

Session Description:

In an era where an increasing number of people from more and more diverse parts of the globe are travelling to, temporarily residing in and permanently settling in countries outside of those in which they were born, scholars from an ever-broader range of disciplines are increasingly trying to make sense of the scale of transnational mobility and its impacts on the individuals, families, communities and societies it touches both directly and indirectly. To do this, linguists, philologists, anthropologists, sociologists, geographers, psychologists and historians are interested in gaining insight into transnationally mobile peoples’ everyday habits and practices and the ways in which they themselves make sense of, negotiate and cope with their experiences of ‘in-betweenness’. While some scholars prefer to generate their own primary research data through undertaking interviews and observation themselves, many others turn to already existing material to be able to tap into the lives of people they wish to study across time and space. The EAC, therefore, offers rich opportunities to scholars seeking to examine the social, psychological, political, economic and cultural impacts of increasingly relevant and diverse temporary forms of transnational mobility – from the postings and deployments of aid workers, missionaries, soldiers and corporate executives to the stints abroad taken by international students and researchers to the refuge sought by people in political exile and so-called ‘lifestyle’ migrants.”

This panel, moderated by Sarah Bringhurst Familia, Public Relations Manager at the EAC, brings together Kristine Racina (the EAC’s director), Dr. Meghann Ormond (a researcher in transnational mobility and care), and Lucille Abendanon, (an expat blogger) to discuss why expat, TCK, and other international life stories are interesting to researchers. We aim to bridge the gap between expats and other internationals and the researchers who study them. We will discuss why recording and preserving our experiences, whether the momentous or the everyday, is important, whatever the medium used. We’ll talk about which types of documents are most useful to researchers, and why, including a discussion about the differences between primary source documents and retrospective memoirs. Finally, we will talk about some of the many different ways internationals can make their life stories available to further academic research.


Sarah Bringhurst Familia has lived on five different continents, but she’s still not sure where (or if!) she wants to settle down. In the meantime she lives in Amsterdam and manages Public Relations for the Expatriate Archive Centre in The Hague, where current projects include @wearexpats, a Twitter RoCur, other digital archiving projects, and Saudade: An Intersection of Archives and Art.
She serves on the editorial board of, a digital magazine and podcast that explores migration and homecoming via the literary, visual, and performing arts. Sarah blogs about her international adventures at in search of a dream to call home.

Kristine Racina, originally from Latvia, is a self-described “military brat” and has experience as an adult expatriate in Yemen, the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands. She attended her first FIGT conference in 2014 and was one of the Ignite session presenters. She collaborated in starting an FIGT affiliate in the Netherlands in 2014. She is the Expatriate Archive Centre’s director. Kristine is an experienced consultant and manager of projects and teams in government roles in Latvia and Yemen, and a number of NGOs and local organizations in the Netherlands. She speaks multiple languages, including English, Latvian, Russian, Dutch and French. Kristine has two Master's degrees in Economics from University of Latvia and Financial Management from Centre Européen Universitaire de Nancy.

Meghann Ormond is Associate Professor in Cultural Geography at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Meghann is a human geographer, and her research focuses on the intersections of transnational mobility, health and care. Her work offers insight into how shifting visions and practices of citizenship, responsibility and belonging impact health and social care arrangements and transform social and economic development agendas. For further information, please visit:

Lucille Abendanon lives an unconventional life on the move. Over the past 15 years she has lived in six countries on three continents. Her identity is stuck, not so much between a rock and a hard place, as between Dutch canals and the African sun…and English country lanes…and Turkish minarets…and chaotic Thai streets… Lucille holds an MA in International Studies and is a published writer. As an amateur historian she explores her personal identity partially through researching her family, which has been moving around internationally for generations. She blogs about her expat life and her exploration of identity at