Anthropology and Health

Examples of how anthropological evidence and insights on health matters are used in programmes and innovations


This report focuses on providing global examples of how anthropological evidence and insights on health-related matters have been utilised in programmes and innovations. It also considers lessons learned and has a section focusing on socially conservative settings. Section 2 focuses on providing examples of how anthropology has been used, particularly focusing on the Ebola epidemic with a specific example of safe burials in this context. Section 3 which provides evidence on lessons learned from using anthropology in health settings and how to improve future programmes. Lastly section 4 concentrates on examples from socially conservative settings including an example of cholera transmission in the Horn of Africa, birth registration in Angola and polio vaccination in Somalia. This report is one of four related queries on behaviour change communication, behavioural economics, anthropology and health.

K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.


Grant, C. (2017). Anthropology and Health. K4D Helpdesk Report 183. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

Anthropology and Health

Published 23 August 2017