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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Diabetes, medicine and modernity in Cameroon
Authors:Awah, Paschal KumISNI
Phillimore, PeterISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Cameroon
health care
traditional medicine
External links:https://doi.org/10.3366/E0001972008000405
Abstract:This article examines popular understandings of diabetes, and conflicts and ambiguities in the management of diabetes care, in two areas of Cameroon in urban Biyem-Assi, an administrative district of the capital Yaoundé, and in Bafut, a rural district in the northwest of the country. Conducted over a two-year period (2001-2003), comparative ethnography in Yaoundé and Bafut started in four diabetes clinics (two in each place). From there it extended outwards, first to the homes of patients with diabetes, and then on to a number of indigenous healers consulted by patients or their families. The authors explore the tension between clinic-based demands for patients' 'compliance' with treatment guidelines, including repeated strictures against resorting to 'traditional' medicine, and patients' own willingness to alternate between biomedicine and indigenous practitioners, a process in which they subject the claims of both to a kind of pragmatic evaluation. The continuing importance of indigenous healing practices, and explanations for diabetes in terms of ancestral intervention or witchcraft, are considered in the light of recent anthropological debate about the 'modernity of witchcraft' in Africa. Bibliogr., notes, sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]