Angola | Guinea-Bissau | Portugal
Africa | Global Health | Neglected tropical diseases | Urbanization
PhD. Jorge Varanda is an Auxiliary Professor of the Anthropology at the Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra. He is also a member of the Direction of the Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA), responsible for its Coimbra branch (CRIA-UC).
He was trained as an anthropologist at the Department of Anthropology, University of Coimbra, then followed suit to University College London (UCL) where he did his master with Emeritus Prof. Murray Last in Medical Anthropology and PhD with Emeritus Prof. William Bynum at the Wellcome- Center for History of Medicine at UCL.
In Coimbra he teaches several social and cultural anthropological courses several of which are part of the Global Health and Medical Anthropology master program. He created and taught 2011-2017 of the course of Anthropology of Health of the Doctoral program of International Health at the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine of Lisbon. He was the FLAD/Michael Teague Visiting Professor at Brown University for the spring semester 2017-2018, where he taught “Global Health Histories in Lusophone Africa (1885-2015)”. Adding to the teaching he is a researcher at the CRIA-UC, and Global Health and Tropical Medicine (GHTM-IHMT) of the afore mention tropical institute.
Over the last decade and half, his research and publications centered attention on biomedical care and health issues in Portuguese-Speaking (Lusophone) Africa. His work has received funding across the years. Varanda first focused on the public health actions carried out by a chartered diamond company (Diamond Company of Angola (Diamang that operated in colonial Angola (1917-1975). He followed suit with a project on a public health programs against human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) across historical- political lines, thus grasping the relevance of a colonial disease and rise of the most relevant Neglected tropical disease in the global health ecosystem (1885-2013).
He was also the national PI in an international project on the emergence and spread HIVs. His attention focused on HIV-1 subtypes and HIV-2 in Angola and Guinea-Bissau, respectively, while providing context and ideas that ‘thicken’ the bio-and-virological narratives. The aim is again highlighting the relevance of the social world (urbanization, health policies) for apparent biological events- changing malaria. His project on the intelligence service of Diamang might seem out of context, but it provides key details on the relevance of local networks both for illegal trading as well as health issues, namely on the early spread of HIV-1 M. This interdisciplinary and diachronic pathway, is still present in his current work on urban malaria in Angola and Guinea-Bissau. This research is hand-in-hand with increasing attention to the idea of Social protection, namely Universal Health Coverage in Lusophone Africa.
Varanda also worked in non-academic settings, namely in the implementation of the Verbal Autopsy system under the Research Centre for Health of Angola (CISA), and on small HIV study with the Doctors of the World- Lisbon, Portugal.
Interests: Medical Anthropology; Social History; Colonial Public Health and Global Health; Human African Trypanosomiasis/ Neglected Diseases; HIV/AIDS (Origin and epidemic spread); Population Movements; Urbanization; Malaria; Verbal Autopsy; D.S.S./ Health research centers; Universal Health Coverage.