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By George Ndege

This publication examines the conflicts attributable to the advent, administration and institutionalization of Western biomedicine into Kenya. From the sunrise of the colonial age, there have been conflicts over the problems and meanings of affliction, well-being and treatment. Conversations usually broke down, specially through the first twenty years of the 20 th century, due to the normal and powerful hope at the a part of neighborhood populations, the nation and biomedical practitioners to guard their respective hallowed traditions, methods and identities. despite the fact that, the endurance of epidemics, spiraling mortality premiums, the interdependent nature of the colonial financial system, and the institution and proposals of Commissions of Inquiry became the tensions of race and clash into dialogues approximately lodging and compromise. the focal point on a typical solid, instead of upon partisan pride, turned a dominant strength. Western biomedicine and African conventional treatments each one contributed to the expansion and improvement of colonial wellbeing and fitness care in Kenya.

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Additional resources for Health, State and Society in Kenya: Faces of Contact and Change (Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora)

Sample text

The Kasigunga families who settled in Kamagambo adapted to a predominantly agricultural lifestyle which was in contrast to the pastoral and fishing lifestyles that had characterized their sojourn around the lake. The lake people, locally known as jonam, were becoming inland people, joramba. These terms did not merely describe proximity to and distance from the lake, they signified economic cultures that explained household reproduction. With these changes came a new lifestyle that revolved around an agricultural calendar with its requirements of planting, weeding, and harvesting during certain times of the year.

106 The recommendations of these two administrators signified an emerging trend in colonial Kenya in which epidemics were associated with certain specific groups. The issue of keeping various groups apart in the attempt to control the plague epidemic was premised on the mistaken assumption that certain groups were intrinsically unhealthy or prone to epidemics. Thus, the call for institutionalized segregation in residential and commercial places began to generate controversy in the politics of urban development as well as in colonial health care.

While it is true that some of these records exhibited a condescending attitude and included commentaries biased against Africans, it would be a fatal mistake to dismiss the records as if they did not exist. It would be falling into the trap of the pre1960 African historiography, in which African oral texts were dismissed as myths and African activities relegated to footnotes. After all, the history of health in colonial society should be reflective of the combined memories of all participants in the process of its construction.

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