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Reconstructing Lives


Vanja Kovačič is a Medical Anthropologist. After having worked for several years as a researcher at the Crash, she is now working for the Manson Unit in MSF UK.

The conference-debate with anthropologist Vanja Kovačič was held on February 17th, 2022, at 6:30PM, online. She introduced her recently-published book, "Reconstructing lives. Victims of war in the Middle East and Médecins Sans Frontières" (Manchester University Press, translation in English and Arabic coming soon). 

Reconstructing lives Victims of war in the Middle East and Médecins Sans Frontières

In 2006, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) launched a project to take care of wounded Iraqi civilians, in Amman, Jordan, as MSF could not give them proper care in their home country due to the lack of security. Fifteen years later, this project widened its scope to victims of conflict in all the region. Now, Yemenis, Syrians, and Iraqis, as well as some Palestinians benefit from the care provided there. In the Amman hospital, surgery is the principal activity: reparative surgery practices, rarely used for wounded civilians during wars, are implemented in the hospital, both in orthopedic surgeries as well as maxilla-facial reconstruction procedures. 

As an anthropologist working in the hospital, and with patients who came back home Vanja Kovačič has studied during a year and a half, the relations between patients and the hospital, as an institution: what is the trajectory of these war wounded civilians? How do they perceive the care they are receiving? How is MSF integrating the needs expressed by the patients themselves? How can we envision their social reinsertion, beyond the technical aspect of the care they are receiving? Vanja Kovačič has made a book out of this extensive investigation, released in the beginning of this year: Reconstructing Lives. Victims of war in the Middle East and Médecins Sans Frontières (Manchester University Press). 

She introduced her book in this conference, during which we had the opportunity to discuss more broadly the question of the relationship between caregivers and patients, as well as the patient’s place in the health care receiving process. 

To cite this content :
Vanja Kovacic, Reconstructing Lives, 17 February 2022, URL : https://msf-crash.org/index.php/en/conferences-debates/reconstructing-lives

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