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Traditional African Medicine
“Every great design begins with an even better story.”Lorinda Mamo
As usual we will be kicking it old school from the very beginning and look at where African healthcare and medical practice originated from. The majority of African individuals use traditional medicine in their daily living when being faced with an illness or disease. It is near impossible to just put into one summary the diversity of all the traditions because they are developed locally opposed to continentally. The biggest roll traditional African medicine had was that of Islamic medicine. Much like any healthcare system you stumble across, African medicine has developed over thousands of year and is still continuing today. It makes to ponder if we will ever know everything or if evolution will always have the upper hand on us.
Despite the difference in the highly diversified medicine of African, there is one common difference when it comes to the comparison of other cultures. Africans have a mindset that establishes equal importance in physical as well as spiritual aspect of the body. This is why you can often see the use of herbal remedies in treating the biological aspect of the body as well as “traditional healers” to focus on more of the spiritual aspect. The three main forms of treatment that is used is medications, physical treatment, and divination. Divination is a treatment that is performed by the traditional healer. Since this form of treatment is used for the spiritual aspect of the body it focuses on finding the meaning of the illness and how to get rid of it. This is where outside cultures often see ceremonies where the community comes together and performs rituals with that ill person. Could we compare the traditional healers to our modern day therapist? Ponder on that a bit.
The Modernization of African Medicine
“After all. Conflict arises, does it not. Through the desire to be something, to be other than what it is.”Jiddu Krishnamurti
When looking at the African healthcare system today, you can see many places where faults lie. Though Africans still have their traditional values and beliefs when it comes to medicine, it is no match for the evolution of the body and disease. Studies have shown that half of the African population do not have access to healthcare in any way other than their traditional teachings. Imagine a world we live in without healthcare. Pretty insane, isn’t it? I personally couldn’t imagine going through typical medical events such as giving birth or mending a severe wound without a doctor present.
Truthfully, any way that you look at the situation there is a decline now more than there was in healthcare before. With the rapid disease progression may Africans are left dying from a disease that can be treated in other countries due to the lack of resources that are available to them. Hospitals or any other healthcare facility are more often than not miles away. Even if they bare the travel it does not guarantee that it will be worth the trip. Often there are high out of pocket expenses which make or break whether someone gets the life saving medical treatment that they need. In Africa’s case, it is not there is a huge change between traditional and modern healthcare and medicine but rather a lack there of which puts most their lives at risk. Scary, huh?
America vs Africa or America and Africa?
“Cultural analysis is intrinsically incomplete. And, worse than that, the more deeply it gets, the less complete it is.”Clifford Geertz
So let me ask you something. Where does America stand in comparison to Africa when it comes to healthcare? I’m sure some of you are thinking why I would ask such a stupid thing. The answer is obvious. American has a thriving healthcare system with technology, medication, and a plethora of facilities. Africa on the other hand has their traditional practices which disease runs ramped. More and more are dying for the resources that they don’t have. What I also mean when asking this question is in what way is America responsible for Africa’s condition and how are we required to help? There would be a higher death rate if there wasn’t already outside sources established to help. However, there isn’t enough. In a sense you could say that we are essential to African survival with the support from our advanced healthcare system but what point is it too much?
So any question that are left at the end of post. If you were with me last time I’m sure you can tell the significant difference between the Chinese and African way of medicine. All of this knowledge goes toward a better understanding of life in the healthcare system and how to best connect with individuals of other cultures. Throughout all we have reviewed so far all have their own unique version of the culture cycle. Through every person is an interaction between not only institutions but also thoughts, feelings, ideas, and behaviors. Until next week my friends. See you soon!
“Medicine is the science of uncertainty and the art of probability.”William Osler