Doctors without Borders

In the article Anthropology and Humanitarian Aid author Emilie Venables talks about her experience as an anthropologist working with Doctors Without Borders.  She explains how her role, while not usually known, is very important and crucial in helping people.  She talks to the local people at a location and figures out what methods and strategies the doctors are using are working. Emilie is also involved in developing focus groups and conducting indepth interviews with locals.  Her responsibility is to learn about the culture and content of a village or area where the doctors are trying to help.  The anthropological view of learning about people and culture of a specific area allows the doctors to help the people in the best way possible. Emilie gives an example of a woman with AIDS and tries to figure out why she is not taking the medication that will protect her unborn baby.  She finds out that the women is worried her husband will learn of her positive status.  He is her only source of economic support and worries about the future of her and her child.  Emilie explains that while talking to the HIV positive woman she learns about the struggles that she has to endure.  While she can not force her to take the medicine she is able to listen to the woman and learn from her.  The use of anthropology allows individuals and doctors to offer better medical attention and support to those in need.