Ferdinand Okwaro is a visiting research fellow at the Cambridge Centre for African Studies, writing up results from his project on ‘The practice and ethics of collaboration in transnational medical research in Kenya’. Previously he completed a PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of Heidelberg in Germany focusing on Ritual healing and Modernity. He wrote his BA and MA degrees at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
As a medical anthropologist Ferdinand focuses on the influence of global processes on health seeking practices, processes and institutional structures of the less developed countries in Africa, and has conducted both basic and applied research on a wide range of topics including ritual healing, modernization, social marketing and ethics in transnational medical research. He employs ethnography in fields as diverse as ritual healing in rural villages and clinical trials research in biomedical research institutions to, not only show the influence of global forces on local practices but to critique the essentialist and reified interpretations of global change that assume rather than demonstrate the force of uniformity of social change. He focuses on the local levels to demonstrate the ways in which globalisation rather than produce uniformity, generates a whole new pattern of diversified responses at regional, national and local levels.