“Satellites and Scandal: The Politics of Telehealth in Bolivia”
Evo Morales made healthcare reform one of the central features of his administration. One of the most highly publicized projects was a nationwide telehealth network, administered via Bolivia’s first communications satellite. From the outset, the telehealth project was accused of being a vehicle for corruption by many urban, middle-class Bolivians. Many Bolivians express doubts that telehealth even functions at all. However, after the removal of Morales on November 10th, 2019, the new Minister of Health expressed support for the telehealth project and indicated that telehealth stations were being utilized nationwide. How and why did telehealth become a political issue in Bolivia? And how can we understand the skepticism about telehealth by many urban Bolivians?
Dr. Kate M Centellas is the Croft Associate Professor of Anthropology and Latin American Studies at the University of Mississippi. Her work focuses on science, technology, and healthcare in Bolivia, most recently telehealth and nuclear medicine.