Home
  • E-mailAstrid.Blystad@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 61 61
  • Visitor Address
    At ISF: Kalfarveien 31 / At CIH: OVerlege Danielsens Hus, Årstadvn. 21
    Bergen
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7804
    5020 Bergen

Leader of the research group “Global health: ethics, economics and culture” based at the Faculty of Medicine, UoB.

Blystad is professor in medical anthropology at the University of Bergen (UoB), Norway, with particular research interest in maternal health with an empirical focus on fertility, infertility, mother to child transmission of HIV, obstetric fistula, female genital cutting, incontinence and prolapse.

Her work springs out of more than 20 years of research in East Africa. Methodologically the research is based in the ethnographic tradition, more recently in combination with other qualitative methods as well as in combination with quantitative methods in mixed methods designs.

Theoretical interests are located within socio-cultural theory, critical theory, gender theory, phenomenology and institutional ethnography. She is principle investigator of several externally funded multidisciplinary research projects.

Present teaching at the following departments/centres at UoB:
- Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care (ISF), Faculty of Medicine
- Centre for International Health (CIH), Faculty of Medicine
- Department of Education and Health (IUH), Faculty of Psychology

Present MA courses taught
- ‘Health sciences in an anthropological perspective’ (Health sciences, ISF, Spring)
- ‘Culture and health’ (Health Sciences, CIH, Autumn)
-  The theory of health and illness (Health Sciences, ISF, Fall)
- ‘Qualitative methods’ (CIH, Autumn)
- ‘Focusing the Body in the Social Sciences’ (MA in Gender and Development, Fall)

Present Doctoral courses
- Qualitative methods, Faculty of Medicine and Odontology, UoB
- The global HIV epidemic and challenges to improve prevention, support and care (CIH, Spring)
- The cultural dimension of health and illness (ISF, Spring)

Supervision:
6 PhDs and 32 MA completed (4 PhDs as co-supervisor)

8 PhD students (4 as co-supervisor) and 5 MAs under current supervision

Textbook
  • 2008. Helse i tid og rom. Cappelen Damm Akademisk.
Academic article
  • 2020. Silent politics and unknown numbers: Rural health bureaucrats and Zambian abortion policy. Social Science and Medicine.
  • 2020. Beyond the law: Misoprostol and medical abortion in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Social Science and Medicine. 9 pages.
  • 2019. ‘An uneasy compromise’: strategies and dilemmas in realizing a permissive abortion law in Ethiopia. International Journal for Equity in Health.
  • 2019. Why teach sexuality education in school? Teacher discretion in implementing comprehensive sexuality education in rural Zambia. International Journal for Equity in Health. 1-10.
  • 2019. When the law makes doors slightly open: ethical dilemmas among abortion service providers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. BMC Medical Ethics. 10 pages.
  • 2019. The challenge of community engagement and informed consent in rural Zambia: an example from a pilot study. BMC Medical Ethics. 45.
  • 2019. The access paradox: abortion law, policy and practice in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia. International Journal for Equity in Health.
  • 2019. Shaping the abortion policy – competing discourses on the Zambian termination of pregnancy act. International Journal for Equity in Health. 1-11.
  • 2019. Health, life and rights: a discourse analysis of a hybrid abortion regime in Tanzania. International Journal for Equity in Health.
  • 2019. A systems perspective on the importance of global health strategy developments for accomplishing today's Sustainable Development Goals. Health Policy and Planning. 635-645.
  • 2018. The lucky ones get cured: Health care seeking among women with pelvic organ prolapse in Amhara Region, Ethiopia. . PLOS ONE. 1-17.
  • 2018. Life after pelvic organ prolapse surgery: A qualitative study in Amhara region, Ethiopia. BMC Women's Health. 8 pages.
  • 2018. Community based interventions for strengthening adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights: how can they be integrated and sustained? A realist evaluation protocol from Zambia. Reproductive Health.
  • 2017. Åndelighet i psykisk helseomsorg: et sammensatt og vanskelig tema. Klinisk Sygepleje. 273-286.
  • 2017. Strengthening validity in studies of pelvic floor disorders through qualitative research: an example from Ethiopia. International Urogynecology Journal. 1-6.
  • 2016. Staying healthy “under the sheets”: Inuit youth experiences of access to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Arviat, Nunavut, Canada. International Journal of Circumpolar Health.
  • 2016. Researcher-researched relationship in qualitative research: Shifts in positions and researcher vulnerability. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being. 12 pages.
  • 2016. Living with pelvic organ prolapse: voices of women from Amhara region, Ethiopia. International Urogynecology Journal. 361-366.
  • 2016. Effectiveness of a girls’ empowerment programme on early childbearing, marriage and school dropout among adolescent girls in rural Zambia: study protocol for a cluster randomized trial. Trials. 15 pages.
  • 2016. Boundaries of confidentiality in nursing care for mother and child in HIV programmes. Nursing Ethics. 576-586.
  • 2014. The accountability for reasonableness approach to guide priority setting in health systems within limited resources - findings from action research at district level in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia. Health Research Policy and Systems.
  • 2014. Reflections on informed choice in resource-poor settings: The case of infant feeding counselling in PMTCT programmes in Tanzania. Social Science and Medicine. 22-29.
  • 2014. Reflections on Female Circumcision Discourse in Hargeysa, Somaliland: Purified or Mutilated? African Journal of Reproductive Health.
  • 2014. Mediating development? Exchanges on gender policies and development practices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Africa Today. 25-45.
  • 2014. Increased fairness in priority setting processes within the health sector: The case of Kapiri-Mposhi District, Zambia. BMC Health Services Research.
  • 2014. Challenges of disseminating clinical practice guidelines in a weak health system: the case of HIV and infant feeding recommendations in Tanzania. International Breastfeeding Journal. 13 pages.
  • 2013. The seven Cs of the high acceptability of home-based VCT: Results from a mixed methods approach in Zambia. Social Science and Medicine. 210-219.
  • 2013. Strong state policies on gender and aid: threats and opportunities for Norwegian faith-based organisations. Forum for Development Studies. 193-216.
  • 2013. Stakeholders' participation in planning and priority setting in the context of a decentralised health care system: the case of prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV programme in Tanzania. BMC Health Services Research. 12 pages.
  • 2013. Silently waiting to heal: Experiences among women living with urinary incontinence in northwest Ethiopia. International Urogynecology Journal. 953-958.
  • 2013. Rethinking nursing care: An ethnographic approach to nurse-patient interaction in the context of a HIV preventive programme in rural Tanzania. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 1045-1053.
  • 2013. Pelvic floor disorders among women in Dabat district, northwest Ethiopia: a pilot study. International Urogynecology Journal. 1135-1143.
  • 2012. Why do health workers in rural Tanzania prefer public sector employment? BMC Health Services Research. 12 pages.
  • 2012. The burden of knowing: balancing benefits and barriers in HIV testing decisions. a qualitative study from Zambia. BMC Health Services Research. 11 pages.
  • 2012. Prevalence of pelvic floor disorders among women in northwest Ethiopia: the DABINCOP pilot study. International Urogynecology Journal. 1135-1143.
  • 2012. Condom availability in high risk places and condom use: a study at district level in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. BMC Public Health. 1030.
  • 2012. Challenges to fair decision-making processes in the context of health care services: a qualitative assessment from Tanzania. International Journal for Equity in Health. 12 pages.
  • 2011. Practicing provider-initiated HIV testing in high prevalence settings: consent concerns and missed preventive opportunities. BMC Health Services Research. 14 pages.
  • 2011. Perceived unfairness in working conditions: The case of public health services in Tanzania. BMC Health Services Research. 15 pages.
  • 2011. 'Stay home for as long as possible': Midwives' priorities and strategies in communicating with first-time mothers in early labour. Midwifery. E286-E292.
  • 2010. ‘The waiting mode’: First-time mothers’ experiences of waiting for labour onset. Sexual & Reproductive HealthCare. 169-173.
  • 2010. Ways ahead: protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in the context of HIV. International Breastfeeding Journal.
  • 2010. Reflections on global policy documents and the WHO's infant feeding guidelines: lessons learnt. International Breastfeeding Journal.
  • 2010. Poisonous milk and sinful mothers: the changing meaning of breastfeeding in the wake of the HIV epidemic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. International Breastfeeding Journal.
  • 2010. Negotiating credibility: first-time mothers' experiences of contact with the labour ward before hospitalisation. Midwifery. E25-E30.
  • 2010. Breastfeeding and HIV: experiences from a decade of prevention of postnatal HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. International Breastfeeding Journal.
  • 2010. ?HIV and infant feeding: Lessons learnt and the ways ahead? Thematic series. International Breastfeeding Journal 2010:5. International Breastfeeding Journal.
  • 2010. 'The divorce program': gendered experiences of HIV positive mothers enrolled in PMTCT programs - the case of rural Malawi. International Breastfeeding Journal.
  • 2009. The decentralisation-centralisation dilemma: recruitment and distribution of health workers in remote districts of Tanzania. BMC International Health and Human Rights. 11 pages.
  • 2009. Technologies of hope? Motherhood, HIV and infant feeding in eastern Africa. Anthropology & Medicine. 105-118.
  • 2009. Technologies of hope? Motherhood, HIV and infant feeding in eastern Africa. Anthropology & Medicine. 105-118.
  • 2009. Gender roles and informal care for patients with AIDS A qualitative study from an urban area in Tanzania. Journal of Transcultural Nursing. 61-68.
  • 2009. Accountable priority setting for trust in health systems - the need for research into a new approach for strengthening sustainable health action in developing countries. Health Research Policy and Systems. 2-11.
  • 2009. A critical assessment of the WHO responsiveness tool: lessons from voluntary HIV testing and counselling services in Kenya. BMC Health Services Research.
  • 2007. Seclusion, protection and avoidance: Exploring the metida complex among the datoga of northern Tanzania. Africa. 331-350.
  • 2007. Seclusion, protection and avoidance: Exploring the metida complex among the datoga of northern Tanzania. Africa. 331-350.
  • 2007. HIV and infant feeding counselling: challenges faced by nurse-counsellors in northern Tanzania. Human Resources for Health. 18-29.
  • 2007. HIV and infant feeding counselling: challenges faced by nurse-counsellors in northern Tanzania. Human Resources for Health.
  • 2007. Experiences of orphan care in Amach, Uganda: assessing policy implications. SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS. 532-543.
  • 2007. Experiences of orphan care in Amach, Uganda: assessing policy implications. SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS. 532-543.
  • 2007. Difficult choices: Infant feeding experiences of HIV-positive mothers in northern Tanzania. SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS. 544-555.
  • 2007. Difficult choices: Infant feeding experiences of HIV-positive mothers in northern Tanzania. SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS. 544-555.
  • 2007. Constraints to educational opportunities of orphans: A community-based study from northern Uganda. AIDS Care. 361-368.
  • 2006. The varying vulnerability of African orphans - The case of the Langi, northern Uganda. Childhood. 267-284.
  • 2006. The varying vulnerability of African orphans - The case of the Langi, northern Uganda. Childhood.
  • 2005. Article:Transforming extraordinary experiences into the concept of schizophrenia: a case-study of a Norwegian psychiatric unit. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry : an International Journal of Critical Inquiry. 229-252.
  • 2005. "When the obvious brother is not there": Political and cultural contexts of the orphan challenge in northern Uganda. Social Science and Medicine. 2628-2638.
  • 2005. "When the obvious brother is not there": Political and cultural context of the orphan challenge in northern Uganda. Social Science and Medicine. 2628-2638.
  • 2004. On HIV, sex and respect: Local-global discourse encounters among the Datoga of Tanzania. African Sociological Review. 47-66.
Lecture
  • 2017. Global-national-local dynamics in studies of gender, health and the body. Examples of research collaboration between anthropologists on the margins.
  • 2015. North South Partnerships in Higher Education.
Popular scientific lecture
  • 1998. The paradigm of embodiment and its utility for the anthropological endeavour.
  • 1998. Samarbeid mellom lege og antropolog: Eksempler fra studier av spebarns- og mødredødelighet i Tanzania.
  • 1998. Kulturbundet sykdomsopplevelse og -uttrykk: medisinsk antropologiske betraktninger i afrikansk kontekst.
Academic lecture
  • 2018. The Access Paradox in Safe Abortion Care. The cases of Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia .
  • 2015. Helse- og sosial politikk/medisinsk antropologi.
  • 2013. Mediators of development? Experiences with gender and aid among gender experts in Ethiopia.
  • 2013. Handling PMTCT guidelines in non-choice contexts: The case of infant feeding counselling and decision making in PMTCT programmes, Tanzania.
  • 2011. Beyond Culture? Commitment and Structural Critique among Gender experts in Ethiopia.
  • 2007. The politics of mother to child transmission of HIV: global discourse and local lives.
  • 2007. The illusion of informed choie in prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV: Global politics in local worlds.
  • 2007. Hope, faith and holy water: Resistance in PMTCT programs in Addis Ababa.
  • 2007. Counting on mother's love: The global politics of mother to child transmission in eastern Africa.
  • 2007. A note on applied locally grounded research and the challenging dynamics between health related research and policy making.
  • 2005. Women and Datoga pastoralists of Tanzania.
  • 2005. Voldsutøvelse blant øst-afrikanske pastoralister: liv-død dynamikk i ny kontekst.
  • 2005. Vanishing tombs, barren wombs': Gendered confrontations between state forces and Datoga women, Tanzania.
  • 2005. Staff and community experience with HIV-related interventions: The case of prevention, treatment and care programmes at Haydom, Tanzania.
  • 2005. On sex, seclusion, fecundity and fate: The dynamics of sexual prohibitions within the metida/meeta complex among peoples in Hanang/Mbulu, Tanzania.
  • 2003. Sex and power: Experiences from an HIV intervention project in Tanzania.
  • 2003. Kropp, seksualitet og AIDS.
  • 2002. Film as intervention.
Editorial
  • 2010. Breastfeeding and HIV: experiences from a decade of prevention of postnatal HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. International Breastfeeding Journal.
Reader opinion piece
  • 2020. Reproductive health and the politics of abortion. International Journal for Equity in Health. 1-4.
  • 2010. Ways ahead: protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in the context of HIV. International Breastfeeding Journal.
Academic anthology/Conference proceedings
  • 2008. Helse i rom og tid. Cappelen Damm Akademisk.
Non-fiction book
  • 2005. Gender, generation and communication in times of AIDS: The potential of 'modern' and 'traditional' institutions. Proceedings from a workshop held in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, 23-25 November 2004. Centre for International Health.
Compendium
  • 1996. Kroppen i sosialantropologi.
Thesis at a second degree level
  • 2004. 'The Search for Care and Cure' - Exploring Health Seeking Behaviour in Mbulu District, Tanzania. 8.
  • 2004. "Nursing Care in an African Context"; A qualitative study from Haydom Lutheran Hospital, Tanzania. 9.
  • 1992. The pastoral Barabaig: Fertility, recycling and the social order.
Masters thesis
  • 2012. Purified or mutilated? The discourse on female circumcision In Hargeysa, Somaliland.
  • 2009. Omsorg på sykehjem. Hva handler det om?
  • 2009. Kontrakt - "spiseforstyrrelsens motstemme" Sykepleieres erfaringer med bruk av kontrakt som hjelpemiddel i behandling av pasienter med Anoreksia Nervosa.
  • 2009. Erfaringer knyttet til å leve med type 1 diabetes fra et pasientperspektiv.
  • 2008. The fear of mother's milk in the era of HIV: A qualitative study among HIV positive mothers and health prefessionals, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • 2008. Kommunikasjon i internasjonale katastrofesituasjoner: Norsk helsepersonells opplevelse av informasjonsutveksling under flodbølgekatastrofen i Sør-Asia i 2004. "Informasjonsflyt i norsk helsevesen under katastrofehåndtering i internasjonal sammenheng".
  • 2008. Infant feeding experiences of HIV positive mothers enrolled in prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) programs - The case for rural Malawi.
  • 2008. Challenges of living with diabetes in resource poor settings: Experiences of diabetes patients, community members and health care providers, Mbulu, northern Tanzania.
  • 2007. Respected Women. A Study of Wayyuu and its Implications for Womens's Sexual Rights among the Arsi Oromo of Ethiopia.
  • 2007. Assessing Women's Contraceptive Use. A Triangulation Study from Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
  • 2006. Barriers to antiretroviral treatment adherence for patients living with HIV infections and AIDS in Arba Minch Hospital, Southern Ethiopia.
  • 2004. Experiences of HIV-positive pregnant women: A qualitative study from Lilongwe urban, Malawi. 5.
  • 2004. Assessing the impact of HIV/AIDS on informal care: A qualitative study from an urban Tanzanian context. 6.
Feature article
  • 2017. The paradox of access - abortion law, policy and misoprostol. Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening. 1-6.
  • 2007. Apartheid i forskning. Bergens Tidende. 11.
Doctoral dissertation
  • 2018. Chronic disease among women in a resource-constrained setting. The case of pelvic organ prolapse in rural Ethiopia.
  • 2015. Stakeholder engagement in health-related decision making. The Case of Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in Tanzania.
  • 2015. Scrutinizing care in nursing practice: An ethnographic study of nurse-mother interaction in programmes to prevent HIV transmission from mother to child in Tanzania.
  • 2005. The challenge of orphans in the era of AIDS : assessing community experience in Uganda.
  • 2000. Precarious Procreation. Datoga Pastoralists at the Late 20th Century.
Interview
  • 2004. Intervju om kulturelle faktorers invirkning på spredning av HIV i Øst-Afrika i "Magasinet".
  • 2004. Intervju om et kulturspesifikt HIV-forebyggende filmprosjekt i Øst-Afrika.
Documentary
  • 2004. Datoga aeshegeda UKIMWI! (Datoga, let's beware AIDS!): A culture specific HIV prevention film targeting Datoga communities in Tanzania (58 min.).
Programme participation
  • 2004. Intervju om kultur og AIDS i Kenya/Tanzania.
Academic chapter/article/Conference paper
  • 2018. Globally designed accountability and local social inequality. A case study of two maternal deaths in Tanzania. 19 pages.
  • 2009. Counting on Mother's Love: The Global Politics of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Eastern Africa. 33 pages.
  • 2007. On HIV, sex and respect: Local-global discourse encounters among Datoga in Tanzania. 23 pages.
  • 2005. Noen tanker om positivisme i kvalitativ forskning. 17 pages.
  • 2005. Fertile mortal links: Reconsidering Datoga violence. 19 pages.
  • 2005. Employing film in HIV prevention: a culture specific film from Mbulu/Hanang, Tanzania. 6 pages.
  • 2004. Datoga. 10 pages.
  • 2000. Challenging encounters: Datoga lives in independent Tanzania. 24 pages.
  • 2000. Challenging encounters: Datoga lives in independent Tanzania. 24 pages.
  • 1999. "We are as sheep and goats": Iraqw and Datooga discourses on fortune, failure, and the future. 22 pages.
  • 1999. "We are as sheep and goats": Iraqw and Datooga discourses on fortune, failure and the future. 22 pages.
  • 1999. "We are as sheep and goats": Iraqw and Datooga discourses on fortune, failure and the future. 22 pages.
  • 1999. "Dealing with men's spears": Datooga pastoralists combating male intrusion on female fertility. 37 pages.
  • 1999. "Dealing with men's spears": Datooga pastoralists combating male intrusion on female fertility. 37 pages.
  • 1996. La Chant qui Revielle la Terre.
  • 1996. La Chant qui Reveille la Terre. 4 pages.
  • 1996. "Do Give us Children": The Problem of Fertility among the Pastoral Barbayiig of Tanzania'.
  • 1996. "Do Give us Children": The Problem of Fertility among the Pastoral Barbayiig of Tanzania. 23 pages.
  • 1995. Peril or penalty: AIDS in the context of social change among the Barabaig. 21 pages.
  • 1995. Peril or Penalty: AIDS in the context of social change among the Barabaig. 21 pages.
Other
  • 2005. Employing film in HIV prevention: a culture specific film from Mbulu/Hanang. 85-90.
Abstract
  • 2013. SUCCESSFUL USE OF PLERIXAFOR IN HARD TO MOBILIZE PATIENTS - FOLLOWING HIGH DOSE THERAPY ALL PATIENTS DEVELOPED FAST AND SUSTAINED ENGRAFTMENT WITH DURABLE CLINICAL RESPONSES. Cytotherapy. S24-S24.
  • 2011. Perceived unfairness in working conditions: the case of public health services in Tanzania. Tropical medicine & international health. 89-89.
  • 2011. Financial incentives for health worker motivation: the case of health services in Tanzania. Tropical medicine & international health. 341-341.
  • 2011. 'What counts': health workers' preferences for public health facilities or church-run health facilities in Tanzania. Tropical medicine & international health. 340-340.
Poster
  • 2017. High participation in cluster randomized controlled trial on the effectiveness of a girls’ empowerment programme in rural Zambia .
  • 2013. 'There is no choice in this area'. Nurse counselling in prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programmes in Tanzania.
  • 2013. 'There is no choice in this area'. Nurse counselling in prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programmes in Tanzania.
  • 2008. Assessment of the WHO responsiveness tool: lessons from voluntary testing and counselling for HIV in Kenya.
  • 2007. Choice and adherence to choice of infant feeding method among HIV positive mothers in northern Tanzania.
Visual Arts
  • 2006. Eshageada UKIMWI Datoga (Datoga let's beware AIDS!). 2nd version.
Academic literature review
  • 2012. Assessing performance enhancing tools: experiences with the open performance review and appraisal system (OPRAS) and expectations towards payment for performance (P4P) in the public health sector in Tanzania. 13 pages.
Interview Journal
  • 2007. Hindrer hiv fra grasrota. Hubro. Magasin for Universitetet i Bergen. 13-14.

More information in national current research information system (CRIStin)

Publications in PubMed

PhD, RN

Strengthening human resources for health, Tanzania. NRC grant: 2006-2011, PI: Blystad with CMI and BUC.

Gender, generation and social mobilisation: Challenges of reproductive health and rights among vulnerable groups in Sudan, Tanzania and Ethiopia. NUFU grant: 2007-2012, PI: Blystad

Gender in poverty reduction. NRC grant: 2009-2012, PI: Haldis Haukanes, Gender and development, UoB, Blystad main collaborating partner.

Incontinence and symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse in Ethiopia. Initiated in 2010, to apply for main funding 2011. Helse Vest grant: 2010, PI: Guri Rørtveit, Blystad main collaborating partner.

‘REACT: Health related priority setting, Tanzania. EU grant: 2005-2010, Blystad responsible for one work-package.

Searching for effective HIV-prevention and care in sub-Saharan Africa: focusing on local contexts. NRC grant: 2004-2008 w/extension 2008-10, PI: Fylkesnes. Blystad responsible for one work package.

Gender, generation and communication in times of AIDS:
The potential of ’modern’ and ’traditional’ institutions. NUFU grant: 2006-2007, PI: Blystad

Fields of competence 

Research groups