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Hayley MacGregor

Research Fellow

Originally trained as a medical doctor in South Africa, Hayley MacGregor pursued further studies in Social Anthropology, completing a PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2003. This doctoral research pursued an interest in medical anthropology, in particular mental illness and mental health service provisioning in post conflict and low income settings.

A subsequent period at the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa broadened her work to address changes in social security provisioning in the event of illness, and the politics of ‘disability’. Current research interests include emerging infectious disease; the anthropology of antimicrobial resistance; informality in health provision; and concepts of care and chronicity in responses to lifelong illness, principally HIV. Hayley’s primary ethnographic work has been in South Africa, but she is involved in work elsewhere in Africa, and in SE Asia. She has been a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies since 2007 and co-leads the Health and Nutrition research cluster. Hayley retains clinical registration with the General Medical Council of the UK, with an honorary contract in clinical psychiatry.

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(Re)thinking the Off-Grid City

This research is designed to help improve the lives of the poorest residents of cities in Africa and Asia by focusing on how they are meeting their basic needs and accessing infrastructure, particularly when they are living 'off-grid'. The research is led by a consortium including experts in...


Epidemic Response Anthropology Platform

The Epidemic Response Anthropology Platform (ERAP) is a resource to support a humane and effective response to epidemics. The aim of the platform is to promote evidence on the social dimensions of epidemics in different contexts and to improve the way this evidence is used in response planning.


Impact Story

Our work strengthens responses to epidemics

Integrating social science perspectives into epidemic responses is now an established area of IDS expertise. Our work has helped to shape the Global Task Force on Cholera Control, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) R&D Blueprint process, and UK government and international agencies’...

28 August 2020


Covid-19 – a social phenomenon requiring diverse expertise

As the Covid-19 pandemic rages across the world, one thing is clear: this epidemic, like all others, is a social phenomenon. The dynamics of the virus, infection and immunity, not to mention on-going efforts to revise and improve clinical care, and endeavours to develop medical treatments and...

20 March 2020


Journal Article

COVID-19, Public Authority and Enforcement

Medical Anthropology 39

The securitization of health is not a new phenomenon. However, global responses to the 2014–2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa reveal the extent to which epidemic preparedness and response is now shaped by geopolitical concerns. UN Security Council Resolution 2177 epitomizes this. The...

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Melissa Parker & 2 others

7 October 2020


Covid-19: Key Considerations for a Public Health Response


The Covid-19 pandemic is more than a health crisis. Its long-term economic and societal effects may well outweigh its initial public health impact. It is therefore essential that responses are socially sensitive and attuned to mitigating these secondary effects.

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Melissa Leach & 4 others

8 September 2020

Hayley MacGregor’s recent work


New project mobilizes social sciences against infectious threats

Sonar-Global, a new EU project involving IDS, will build an international Social Sciences network for the prevention and response to infectious threats and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The project will provide a platform for collaboration among social sciences experts, institutions and...

26 February 2019


Health and Nutrition

Our health and nutrition work brings new understanding and action on health tackling epidemics, antimicrobial resistance and zoonotic diseases. We generate new evidence and analysis on nutrition issues including dietary transition, globalisation of food systems, and responding to the ways that...