Society for Medical Anthropology
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
Drawing on three months of qualitative research in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh, this paper examines how an inside/outside dichotomy shapes dengue risk perceptions and influences dengue prevention. Dengue is a vector-borne disease transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. The subtropical, hot, and humid climate of Bangladesh offers a favourable environment for Aedes mosquitoes. Since 2000, Bangladesh has witnessed several fatal dengue outbreaks. While vaccines are being innovated, prevention is currently the best protection against dengue. Studies have emphasized the importance of active community participation in controlling dengue, especially in eradicating breeding sites such as stagnant water.
Like many other countries, Bangladesh targets the household, as an important site for Aedes breeding, placing responsibilities on families and communities to reduce the risk. However, community perceptions contradict government and experts, as the space “outside” of the home, unattended, unmaintained, and unclean, becomes the source of dengue, where dengue mosquitoes breed, and people are infected. As a result, community members believe that the primary responsibilities and active initiatives to prevent dengue must come from the government. For instance, providing enough trash bins in public places, ensuring proper disposal of garbage, and running awareness campaign throughout the year. This paper concludes with three effects stemming from the inside/outside dichotomy: perceptions of dengue remain partial, responsibilities for dengue prevention become confused, and underlying structural factors in dengue prevalence are overlooked.