TRADITIONAL MEDICAL PRACTICES IN AFRICA IN A MODERNIZATION CONTEXT: THE EXAMPLE OF TOGO

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Year-Number: 2018-19
Number of pages: 2281-2288
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Abstract

The modernization process started in Africa with the colonization and it concerns all social areas. Especially in medical area, the modern medical practices are being imposed at the place of the ancient traditional one since the colonization period. At the middle of 1990’s, modern medical practices had been almost adopted in some urban and rural African society. This happened with the effort of governments and international civil society organizations. At that time, populations can easily access to modern medical institutions. However, at the end of 1990’s, due to the social and economic crises, almost all African States’ social and medical systems had collapsed. The government social and medical politics had almost completely disappeared and populations are left to their own destiny. The medical system had almost been privatized. From that period, the access to medical institutions in Africa became a luxury. In this situation, due to poverty, population especially rural ones, resorted to the traditional medical practices. At the other side, the modern medical actors including laboratories, according to their interests and in capitalist logics, with the complicity of governors, continue to try to impose the modern practices to the populations without taking in account their living conditions. These impositions are generally not violent and are often been done through media and national awareness. At the same time, populations are living according to their traditional medical institutions and are trying to thwart the capitalist and modern medical institutions’ practices.  In this situation, how can traditional medical system be improved to make it more helpful for population? How can African States conciliate the traditional and modern medical systems? Can the traditional medical system be viable in the globalization context? By taking the example of Togo, this study is aiming to answer these questions. Furthermore, it will try to understand the future of the traditional medical system. In this study, we made the hypothesis that, in Africa, if the traditional medical system is performed with modern technics and is controlled either by States or by responsible private organizations, it can help populations to access good medical practices.

Keywords

Abstract

The modernization process started in Africa with the colonization and it concerns all social areas. Especially in medical area, the modern medical practices are being imposed at the place of the ancient traditional one since the colonization period. At the middle of 1990’s, modern medical practices had been almost adopted in some urban and rural African society. This happened with the effort of governments and international civil society organizations. At that time, populations can easily access to modern medical institutions. However, at the end of 1990’s, due to the social and economic crises, almost all African States’ social and medical systems had collapsed. The government social and medical politics had almost completely disappeared and populations are left to their own destiny. The medical system had almost been privatized. From that period, the access to medical institutions in Africa became a luxury. In this situation, due to poverty, population especially rural ones, resorted to the traditional medical practices. At the other side, the modern medical actors including laboratories, according to their interests and in capitalist logics, with the complicity of governors, continue to try to impose the modern practices to the populations without taking in account their living conditions. These impositions are generally not violent and are often been done through media and national awareness. At the same time, populations are living according to their traditional medical institutions and are trying to thwart the capitalist and modern medical institutions’ practices.  In this situation, how can traditional medical system be improved to make it more helpful for population? How can African States conciliate the traditional and modern medical systems? Can the traditional medical system be viable in the globalization context? By taking the example of Togo, this study is aiming to answer these questions. Furthermore, it will try to understand the future of the traditional medical system. In this study, we made the hypothesis that, in Africa, if the traditional medical system is performed with modern technics and is controlled either by States or by responsible private organizations, it can help populations to access good medical practices.

Keywords