When are pandemics actually over - research?

Psychologist Ruth Ogden will be a key partner in a £6.5m Welcome Trust study into global health crises.

Led by the University of Oxford, the research will look into when and how we can call health crises over and done and draws on Dr Odgen’s ‘perception of time’ scholarship.

The eight-year research project is one of the first beneficiaries of the Wellcome Trust’s new Discovery Awards scheme.

Taking as its starting point the assumption that our understanding of time is shaped by the idea of having a clear beginning, middle and end, the study ‘After the end: lived experiences and aftermaths of diseases, disasters, and drugs in global health’ will ask who makes the decision about where these markers are located in the world of global health.

Lived experiences

“When is a global outbreak or crisis ‘over’ and how do such declarations of ‘the end’ shape our use of resources, our ethics and our ongoing care?” said lead researcher Professor Patricia Kingori from Somerville College.

“What effect do these declarations have on counter-narratives and who decides what happens afterwards, what will be forgotten and what endure?”

The multidisciplinary team spanning four continents will investigate lived experiences of time and endings in global health crises and identify the moral and ethical duties of global healthcare to prioritise and put in place broader ideas of temporal legitimacy.

Researchers come from the University of Exeter (history of medicine, science and technology; modern literature and medical humanities), Liverpool John Moores University (psychology of time), and the University of Warwick (global health law); and internationally, in Brazil (anthropology and law), Hong Kong (humanitarian medicine), and Sierra Leone (public health).

Dr Ogden, from LJMU's School of Psychology, said: “It is an honour to work with such an amazing team of women. This project will help us to rethink our understanding of global health interventions, enabling fairer more equal opportunities for all."


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