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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Maternity and modernity in the Gold Coast, 1920s-1950s
Author:Hugon, AnneISNI
Periodical:Ghana Studies (ISSN 1536-5514)
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:maternal and child health care
health education
health policy
colonial period
Abstract:This paper analyses the various meanings of the term 'modernization' through its context, content, and aims as applied to the history of maternity in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) by asking a series of questions. Was 'modernization' just an element of colonial rhetoric? Did it reflect African aspirations, or was it integral to the agenda of African political activists? Was it considered to be a desirable process and if so, by whom? Biomedicine, as a branche of science, was identified, at the time, as the modern field 'par excellence'. Therefore, qualified African midwives, who had received hospital training for three years, became agents of modernization in the eyes of the colonial authorities. Young African women were trained not only to reduce the high infant and mortality rates but also to introduce African women to new habits in childcare and housekeeping. As principles of hygiene were seen as the sign of domestic modernity, midwives were to take advantage of their closeness to African women in order to teach them how to take care of their house and household. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]