menu

Blizard Institute

Staff menu

Dr Sajida Ally, BA, MSc, PhD

Sajida

Lecturer in Global Public Health

Email: s.ally@qmul.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 2497

Profile

Dr. Sajida Ally is a lecturer in Global Public Health at the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, where she joined in December 2016 to lead teaching on migration, culture and health.

Dr. Ally’s research examines migrants’ wellness and illness and the intersections between embodied health experience, gender, kin and communal relations and the politics of healthcare access in the contexts of Sri Lanka and the Arab Gulf. Specifically, she studies the existing disjunctions between migrants’ articulations of healthcare needs and health and development interventions that target low-income labour migrants. She is currently the Principal Investigator of the project, ‘Sri Lankan Migrant Workers’ Entitlements to Healthcare in Kuwait: The Role of Public and Private Actors’, which is funded by REALM (Research and Empirical Analysis on Labour Migration) at Columbia University and New York University-Abu Dhabi.

In addition to her research, Dr. Ally has had a decade of experiences working in the NGO sector on migration policy advocacy. She has worked with the Asian Migrant Centre (Hong Kong), Migrant Forum in Asia (Manila) and Migrants’ Rights International (Geneva). This work involved building international, multi-disciplinary networks for conducting policy advocacy on migrants' human, health and labour rights, community organising, and the development of the institutional capacities of migrant workers’ organizations and trade unions. Her professional, research and fieldwork experiences span Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Geneva, the U.S., Manila, the Mekong sub-region and India, among other countries.
Dr. Ally completed her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex in 2016. Prior to her PhD, she obtained an MSc in Social Policy, Planning and Development from the LSE and a BA in History, Arab Studies and Psychology from Georgetown University. Before she joined QMUL, she was an Associate Tutor in Anthropology and International Development in the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex. She continues to be a Graduate Associate of the Centre for Cultures of Reproduction, Technologies and Health (CORTH) at Sussex.
Dr. Ally’s doctoral research project on transnational Sri Lankan domestic workers' experiences of wellness – through the Tamil notion of ‘suham’ – explored health in relation to changing kin and communal relations and new materialities of livelihood, labour recruitment and sponsorship regimes. It built on her first-hand experience of Asian migration policy advocacy and two years of ethnographic fieldwork in Sri Lanka and Kuwait.
Topics for PhD supervision
  • Migrants’ and refugees’ health and healthcare
  • Migration and health policy
  • Sociocultural understandings of health, wellness and psychosocial health
  • Islam and health
  • Minorities, health rights and citizenship
  • Anthropology of gender, sexuality and reproductive health
  • Social and/or medical anthropology of Sri Lanka, the Arab Gulf and MENA (Middle East & North Africa)

Summary

Teaching

Past teaching expertise: Health, inequality and poverty; Anthropology of sexuality; Social change, culture and development; Qualitative methods in migration research.
MSc lead: Migration, Culture and Global Health
 
Module lead: Migration, Culture and Health (MSc/iBSc)
 
Module lead: Research, Writing and Analysis (BSc)
 
Other modules taught: Health Inequalities and Social Determinants of Health (MSc/iBSc/BSc)

Research

Research Interests:

Migrants’ and minorities’ wellness and illness experience; Political and moral anthropology of health; Labour migration and healthcare systems; Psychosocial health and migration; Migrants’ rights and entitlements to health; Migration and health policy and development; Islam and sociocultural frameworks of health and medicine; Anthropology of gender and sexuality; Regional expertise in Sri Lanka, the Arab Gulf and Tamil-speaking diaspora.

Ongoing Research Projects

Dr. Ally’s new research is being developed around two lines of enquiry. She is currently the Principal Investigator of the project, ‘Sri Lankan Migrant Workers’ Entitlements to Healthcare in Kuwait: The Role of Public and Private Actors’, which is funded by REALM (Research and Empirical Analysis on Labour Migration) and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Innovative Theory (INCITE) at Columbia University and New York University-Abu Dhabi. The project examines the intersections between public and private healthcare systems and labour recruitment processes between Sri Lanka and the Arab-Persian Gulf, including the role of medical testing centres, medical insurance agencies, recruitment agents and employers. It also investigates the financing of migrants’ healthcare and illness and the ways in which migrant workers negotiate access to care across transnational contexts.

The second strand of her ongoing research examines sociocultural and Islamic frameworks of health and wellness among minorities in Sri Lanka and the Arab-Persian Gulf and the potential role of these vernacular frameworks in informing, interrogating and/or re-shaping psychosocial and mental health interventions.

In addition, Dr. Ally’s ongoing research articles focus on migrant domestic work and entitlements to health and healthcare in Kuwait and Sri Lanka, the implicit and socio-moral dimensions of returnee migrants’ health in Sri Lanka, and the cultural politics of sexuality and spousal relations among transnationally mobile women. She is also developing policy briefs on bringing health and wellness into migration and/or health policy and practice in Sri Lanka.

 

Publications

Ally, S. (2015) ‘ “Good Women Stay at Home. Bad Women Go Everywhere”: Agency, Sexuality and Self in Sri Lankan Migrant Narratives’, in Sunil K. Khanna and Maya Unnithan-Kumar(eds.), The Cultural Politics of Reproduction: Migration, Health and Family Making. London: Bergahn Books, pp. 50-76.

Chapters in NGO Edited Volumes & Policy Reports - selected. References without my name are under the authorship of the NGOs that they were commissioned by.

Unnithan-Kumar, M. and Ally, S. (2015). ‘Migrant Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Family Planning’, Submission to the UK All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) on Population Dynamics and Reproductive Health. (Recommendations to the report launched at the House of Lords, Population Dynamics and the Sustainable Development Goals in July 2015. See: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/corth/newsandevents)

(2003). ‘International Standards and the UN Migrant Workers Convention: Opportunities and Obstacles in Advancing Migrants’ Rights in Asia’, Asian Migrant Yearbook 2002-2003: Migration Facts, Analysis and Issues in 2001-2002. Hong Kong: AMC (Asian Migrant Centre)/MFA (Migrant Forum in Asia).

(2003). ‘Forced Labour and Exploitation of Indonesian Migrant Workers’, a joint submission by the Asian Migrant Centre, Indonesian Migrant Workers’ Union and Anti-slavery International to the UN Sub-commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, 28th Session. Geneva: 16-20 June.

Ally, S. (2003). ‘Foreign Domestic Workers’ Organise Against Racial Discrimination in Hong Kong,’ Asian Labour Bulletin (Spring Issue). Hong Kong: Asian Monitor Resource Centre.

(2002) ‘Hong Kong Country Report’, Asian Migrant Yearbook 2001-2002: Migration Facts, Analysis and Issues in 2000-2001. Hong Kong: AMC/MFA.

(2002) ‘Macau Country Report’, Asian Migrant Yearbook 2001-2002: Migration Facts, Analysis and Issues in 2000-2001. Hong Kong: AMC/MFA.

(2002). ‘Lao P.D.R. Country Report’, Migration Needs, Issues and Responses in the Greater Mekong Subregion: A Resource Book. Hong Kong: AMC & Mekong Migration Network (MMN).

Ally, S. (2001). ‘Hong Kong Country Report’, Clearing a Hurried Path: A Study on Education Programs for Migrant Workers in Six Asian Countries. Hong Kong: AMC, Asia South Pacific Bureau for Adult Education (ASPBAE) & MFA.

(2001). ‘Burma Country Report’, Asian Migrant Yearbook 2000: Migration Facts, Analysis and Issues in 1999. Hong Kong: AMC/MFA.

(2001). ‘India Country Report’, Asian Migrant Yearbook 2000: Migration Facts, Analysis and Issues in 1999. Hong Kong: AMC/MFA.

Ally, S. (2001). ‘Race and Class Discrimination in Hong Kong: Migrant Women’s Experiences’, Hong Kong Christian Institute Quarterly Newsletter. Hong Kong: HKCI.

Return to top