Humanitarian Claims and Expert Testimonies

Contestation over Health Care for Ghanaian Migrants in the United Kingdom

Benjamin N. Lawrance


Ghanaian migrants seeking to remain within the United Kingdom for medical treatment employ various strategies to navigate health and humanitarian assistance law. U.K. immigration officers police immigration controls and assess humanitarian claims often without requisite medical knowledge. Drawing on ethnographic case studies, this article examines the expert country conditions report, and its capacity to document medical provision and supply in Ghana in response to the diagnoses and prescription of physicians. Whereas immigration officers attempt to detach individual claimants from their biomedical narratives by arguing that medical care is available and improving in Ghana, expert testimony re-tethers claimants to the specificities of their conditions by documenting the incapacity of the Ghanaian state to provide adequate treatment and therapy.

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